Puget Sound Fire personnel push a new engine into Station 77 in Kent as part of a tradition for new engines. Engine 77 went into service last month. COURTESY PHOTO, Puget Sound Fire

Puget Sound Fire personnel push a new engine into Station 77 in Kent as part of a tradition for new engines. Engine 77 went into service last month. COURTESY PHOTO, Puget Sound Fire

Kent’s Puget Sound Fire purchases two new engines

Pierce Enforcer vehicles cost $618,000 each

Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority recently added two new engines, one in Kent and one in SeaTac.

The two new Pierce Enforcer engines went into service as Engine 77 in Kent and Engine 47 in SeaTac. SeaTac contracts with Puget Sound Fire, which broke off from the city of Kent in 2010 when voters approved a regional fire authority funded by property taxes and fire benefit charges (a variable rate fee). The new engines are the first to have the new color scheme of gray over red. Engine 47 also will have the new SeaTac/Puget Sound Fire logo.

Each engine cost the agency $618,000, according to an email from Deputy Chief Mark Jones. Appleton-Wisconsin-based Pierce Manufacturing Inc., a subsidiary of the Oshkosh Corp., built the engines. Jones said the new engines replaced two old engines that were 18 years old. Both of the old engines will serve as reserve (backup) engines for the next five years. Puget Sound Fire paid for the engines out of its capital budget.

“We have a list of engines and their lifespan mapped out for 30 years,” Jones said about setting aside funds for new vehicles. “We create our capital plan to support replacing apparatus when they have reached the end of their lifecycle.”

The average life span depends on the utilization, quality of the equipment and replacement model, Jones said.

“We are working towards a replacement cycle of our pumpers of 15 years with the plan having an engine in front line service for 10 years and then moved to reserve for the remaining five,” Jones said.

Engine 77 operates out of Fire Station 77, 20717 132nd Ave. SE.

“These Enforcers are a slightly smaller version of the engines we have purchased in the past making them more maneuverable and economical while still carrying the same amount of hose and water as previous versions,” according to a Puget Sound Fire media release. “The apparatus spec committee put a lot of effort into soliciting input form the crews that would be responding and working off of this new design to come up with a good looking and functional fire engine to serve the community for years to come. This design is to become the standard for Puget Sound Fire.”

Firefighters last month celebrated two housing ceremonies for the new engines.

The housing ceremony is a tradition in the fire service. Early hand drawn hose carts had to be pushed back into the fire station. Later horse drawn steam engines were difficult to align with the filling hoses, so the horses were disconnected, and the apparatus pushed back into place.

The housing ceremony also incorporates other fire service traditions to honor those that came before us such as the ringing of the bell and the “wet down.” As much as a nod to the past, the housing ceremony is also a display of unity among all those in attendance to “push” the new engine back into the station.

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