City plans to donate unused fire engine to Neihart Volunteer Fire Department

In recent months, Great Falls Fire Rescue has added new fire engines to replace aging equipment.

One of those replaced items is a decommissioned 1989 Ford L9000 Fire Engine that is no longer capable of meeting GFFR’s needs and should have been retired in 2009, according to GFFR.

The Neihart Volunteer Fire Department told the city that they had a critical needs for a fire engine to protect people and property in Neihart. The engine could have a tremendous impact on public safety in Neihart and since the town is financially unable to purchase one, city staff recommends gifting the engine to Neihart.

In July, the city loaned Neihart the decommissioned fire engine through the Fire Service Mutual Aid Agreement between the two departments.

According to GFFR, the Neihart fire department explained that they had no financial means of purchasing a new or used fire engine. The city’s recently purchased engine was a demonstration model for about $411,000. A new model would run about $650,000.

New engines rolling at Great Falls Fire Rescue

The fire engine would be a major benefit to the town of Neihart based on the critical fire weather being experienced in the area and because the town is considered a wildland urban interface area, according to the staff report. The town is in the middle of the Little Belt Mountains and has significant wildland urban interface risk year-round, especially during hot and dry summers like this one.

“Staff recognized that the best use for this retired fire apparatus would be to donate the vehicle to a community with a desperate need for a fire truck that has the pumping capacity to extinguish a structure fire,” according to GFFR Chief Steve Hester’s agenda report. “Since the apparatus was loaned to them, the response about how much they appreciated its use has been overwhelming.”

The engine has 27 years of hard service and no longer meets current National Fire Protection Standards, making selling it difficult. If it could be sold, staff estimates that the engine is worth less than $4,000.

“The engine’s value to the community of Neihart is priceless,” Hester wrote in his report.

That leaves two retired 1990 Laverne fire engines to be sold for parts at an estimated value of $3,000 and a retired ambulance to be sold for an estimated $1,5000.