Aging Fleet, Canceled Contract Leave Pittsburgh (PA) Fire Department with Few Options

A canceled contract to purchase new fire trucks has the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire resorting to acquiring used trucks from outside departments, reported.

Faced with an aging fleet of fire trucks, the bureau recently bought two used fire trucks from local volunteer fire companies, after a contract worth $1.8 million to purchase three new trucks was canceled in May 2022, the report said.

The contract was issued under former Mayor Bill Peduto’s administration. But Pittsburgh Fire Chief Darryl Jones and the city’s firefighter union were not consulted on the purchase, so the order was canceled, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported in September.

Last month, the Emsworth Volunteer Fire Company wrote in a Facebook post that its 1998 American LaFrance Engine was “onto its next life with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire.”

In September, Pittsburgh City Council approved the leasing of four new trucks over seven years at a cost of $3.8 million. But in recent months, the need has become greater and securing trucks from volunteer departments became necessary, the report said.

When responding to some fire calls, the bureau has had to use a sport-utility vehicle when no pumpers were available, according to WPXI-TV. The city has also had to wait until another pumper truck is available from a nearby station, WPXI reported.

An official with the International Association of Firefighters Local No. 1 said the situation is dire, according to the WPXI-TV report. The city needs to develop an annual purchasing plan to avoid this in the future, he told WPXI-TV.