Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Bellevue seeks new fire engine

Express Staff Writer

Bellevue Fire Chief Dennis Cannon stands beside the 1985 engine the city hopes to replace with the support of the community. Express photo by Chris Pilaro

The Bellevue Volunteer Fire Department is seeking funding to replace an outdated fire truck that firefighters say is difficult to maintain and inadequate for transporting personnel.

To acquire a new engine, the department is applying for a Region 4 Idaho Community Development Block Grant of $210,000. The grant distributes federal money through the state Department of Commerce and Labor.

The application process requires letters of support from the community.

The department would like to replace its primary attack pumper, which is 20 years old and does not comply with National Fire Protection Association standards.

?It looks good from the outside, but has mechanical issues,? Bellevue Fire Chief Dennis Cannon said. ?It?s extremely difficult to get parts for and to find someone certified to work on it.?

Cannon explained that the truck holds three people and the fire department typically needs at least four people to respond to a fire.

Cannon said the new truck will have room for five people and comply with the National Fire Protection Association?s requirements.

He said acquiring a new truck could lower the city?s fire rating, which in turn could save Bellevue taxpayers money on their homeowner?s insurance premiums.

The city has pledged $70,000 of its own money toward purchase of the engine, and the fire department has pledged $5,000. When distributing grants, the Department of Commerce and Labor looks both at need and local contribution.

?They like to see 50 percent, but if you can qualify in other ways, that also makes us competitive,? Councilmember Tammy Schofield said in an interview. ?The current truck poses a health and safety issue.?

City Council members have discussed pulling money from savings or selling city land to fund the project.

The Bellevue Volunteer Fire Department urges the community to support the grant by writing letters and attending a City Council meeting Thursday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m.

Letters can be addressed to the Bellevue Fire Department P.O. Box 825 Bellevue, ID 83313.

Contact Cannon at 788-3692 with any questions.

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