The county’s newest fleet of fire engines feature sleek physiques and smaller wheelbases to make them more maneuverable, said Pete Piringer, a spokesman for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services.
They also represent a nearly $25 million investment for the county — one of the largest shipments of new engines in about a decade.
“I think that’s probably what caught people’s attention — the fact that we got 25 new engines at one time,” said Piringer, who released photos of the new equipment on Twitter last week. “That’s what’s really impressive about it.”
The new engines, which will go into service in the coming weeks, each cost more than $900,000 — including the accompanying equipment such as nozzles and hoses. The county routinely replaces a few engines a year, Piringer said, but hasn’t received such a big shipment since the mid-2000s, when 30 engines were replaced at one time.
The engines were incrementally funded over multiple budget cycles. Each of the vehicles will go to a fire station that hasn’t received a recent shipment of new equipment.
More than half of the county’s 40 stations will receive a new engine, Piringer added. The trucks were engineered to provide the same technology on a smaller frame.
“It’s kind of like a sports car,” he said. “They’re built to a certain specification, but they still have the same qualifications as the older models.”
Those include high-capacity pumps capable of releasing up to 1,500 gallon per minute — crucial for fighting large fires, Piringer said. The engines also feature 1.5-inch hoses specially engineered to spray the same amount of water as larger hoses.
“They’re newly designed so they can deliver the same amount of water as a 2.5-inch hose,” he said. “But they’re a lot easier for a firefighter to handle. Not a lot of people think about how important that is if you’re spending hours trying to extinguish a major fire.”
The smaller frames — while not specifically chosen for traffic safety — also align neatly with the county’s current Vision Zero initiative, which aims to reduce or even eliminate traffic-related deaths by 2030.
The engines can more easily maneuver through heavy traffic and pedestrian-heavy streets, an advantage in an increasingly urbanized county.
“It’s a nice side benefit,” Piringer said. “I like to think the stars aligned with this order coming right as the county is really focusing on safety.”