Cedar City Fire Department seeks to buy new brush truck for over $300K

CEDAR CITY — After 21 years of service, one of the Cedar City Fire Department’s brush trucks is set for retirement, but the department plans to order a replacement.

In this file photo for illustrative purposes, firefighters respond to a brush fire at the border between Iron and Washington counties, Utah, June 8, 2023 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

The Chevrolet Type 6 brush truck holds less than 400 gallons of water, is small and over a thousand pounds overweight. It also has a fuel tank leak, said Cedar City Fire Chief Mike Phillips.

“(Fuel) just leaks out of the top of it, so we don’t fill it up all the way,” he said.

The truck’s water tank has cracked multiple times, requiring repair; its front and rear brake motors are heat-cracked, and the department hasn’t been able to replace its failing emergency lights due to a lack of replacement parts.

Additionally, the department’s replacement plan gives brush trucks a 15-year service life, according to the council packet.

“It’s been beat to death on wildland fires for the last 21 years,” Phillips said.

The department requested approval for the purchase of a new truck at the Jan. 3 Cedar City Council meeting. The Dodge Type 4 brush truck from Siddons-Martin will cost $309,492 and hold 750 gallons of water or more, the packet states.

“(It has) a bigger chassis, bigger tires, so it’s designed to handle the weight,” Phillips said.

In this file photo for illustrative purposes, the Cedar City Fire Department responds to a fire at the Iron County Shooting Range near Cedar City, Utah, April 16, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

The department will use funds from its Capital Reserve Account to purchase the truck. Revenue earned through the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands Cooperator Program is divided based on the department’s business plan after expenses. Approximately 10% of funds are earmarked for equipment.

Revenue through the program “ebbs and flows,” depending on whether the department is needed to burn slash piles, respond to local fires or assist other departments across the U.S. Cedar City Fire earned about $234,000 gross in 2023, responding to fires in Montana, Southern California and “about as far south as you can go in Louisiana,” Phillips said.

The item was approved Wednesday as part of the City Council’s consent agenda, where council members vote on multiple agenda items simultaneously with a yes-or-no vote.

Once ordered, Phillips told Cedar City News the truck will likely arrive in about 18 months.

Cedar City News reporter Jeff Richards contributed to this story.

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