Rock Island (IL) FD Down Two Apparatus After They Were Deemed Unsafe for Use

Nov. 17—Rock Island Fire Department needs to replace two engines.

Fire Chief Bob Graff said one of the team members noticed some problems with one of the engines. He said an expert checked out the issue and said that it was best not to use the engine.

A second engine also was checked and found it was in a similar condition.

“The nice thing about the Quad-Cities is we work together to shuffle things as needed,” Graff said.

At first, it was a “mad scramble” but they pulled one fire engine out of reserve and worked with the Moline Fire Department to borrow one of their engines. Recently, Moline fire received two new engines that were put into service Monday, Nov. 13.

Graff said he worked with Moline Fire Chief Steve Regenwether to borrow one of their old engines that was replaced by a new one.

Regenwether said Moline fire has borrowed equipment and tools from Rock Island in the past and knew if Moline came into similar trouble, Rock Island Fire Department would have done what they can to help to.

“They ran into some trouble and we have a couple engines to spare,” Regenwether said.

Rock Island’s two fire engines were about 20-years-old, which were in use longer than expected, Graff said. Replacing fire engines are generally based on conditions.

Rock Island Fire Department budgeted for a new engine in 2024, but given the unexpected situation, two will be making their way to Rock Island. Depending on a fire department’s needs, Graff said, fire engines cost $600,000-$900,000.

The first engine is likely to arrive with the next few weeks, with a second one being delivered sometime next year, Graff said.

Typically, it takes about one to two years to get a new fire engine delivered due to COVID-related supply chain issues that have delayed the process. Before COVID, Graff said, it would only take about 18 months for a new engine.

Depending on how much customization a fire department would want, supply chain issues have pushed back wait times to at least 48 months, Graff said. Moline Fire Department budgeted their two new fire engines in 2022 and 2023.

But Rock Island Fire Department plans on purchasing fire engines that are already built with a few modifications, Graff said.

Though it was unexpected, it didn’t change response time or service to the community, Graff said. Rock Island has four stations, with four suppression vehicles that are placed around the city to respond to calls.

A contingency plan also was put in place, he said, to ensure people were on a scene.

“We have outstanding relationships with each other around the Quad-Cities, so it never really impacted anything,” he said.

(c)2023 Moline Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, Ill.