GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Gulfport firefighters said it felt like waking up Christmas morning. Five brand new pumper trucks have arrived to replace an aging fleet that city officials said was constantly in need of repairs.
Fire Chief Mike Beyerstedt said considering what many cities pay for just one of these trucks, Gulfport got a sweetheart deal, especially since the city was able to have some features customized.
"That's one of the things we're really proud of is that every day, there's fire trucks across this country spending $600,000 on pumpers. Ours were $390,000," said Beyerstedt. "We feel like by educating ourselves with committee approaches and studying the different options available on this, we've come up with a smart spec for these trucks."
As they got their first look at the new fire trucks, Gulfport firefighters were wowed by the amount of user friendly technology.
"It was pretty exciting. It was almost like Christmas morning having a new toy to play with," said firefighter David Faul. "It's obviously got a lot of new equipment, things that will help us provide service to our citizens of Gulfport. So, we're really excited about it."
Gulfport spent $1.9 million for five new trucks. The chief said that's money better spent than constantly repairing an aging fleet.
"The reliability standpoint. The trucks that these are all replacing are all 20 years old, so there was quite a bit of maintenance issues on those," Beyerstedt said. "That's lost efficiency when we're shuttling trucks back and forth to the shop. There's also some technological upgrades on these trucks."
Firefighters said the upgrades improve their ability to try to save lives and property.
"These trucks have an onboard foam injection system in them," said Beyerstedt. "In that foam tank, we can put either class A, which is for your ordinary combustibles, or class B foams, which is what you would use for flammable liquids fires. By using those products, it actually helps the fire go out quicker."
"Integrated foam systems we can apply to different types of fires, structure fires and vehicle fires. It will just help us," Faul said. "Plus, our older trucks don't have AC in them. So, it will be a nice little rehab area for us. When we're done fighting the fire, we'll be able to cool down a little bit and then load back up and get back in the fire."
The trucks are going to stations across the city, and officials tell me after some training, they should be out on the road.