On Thursday, August 31, the Lehi City Council met for an unusual reason. The emergency council meeting at 8:45 a.m. was convened, and all members attended in person or remotely. The purpose of the meeting was to approve the purchase of a used fire engine (fire truck) for $396,000.
The Lehi Fire Department needs the fire engine because the Station 83 truck has been decommissioned for nearly a year because of a fatal accident last October. The Utah Highway Patrol is conducting the accident investigation, and the results are still pending. The City’s insurance company has not determined whether the engine is a “total loss” or will be repaired.
“We got put in this position essentially because of the accident. We felt we had a good plan prior to the accident. We bought two new Rosenbauer’s (fire trucks) a few years ago and moved our older engines to backup status. Our backup engine, a 2003, blew the motor three weeks ago. It will cost more to rebuild the motor than the engine is worth,” said Lehi Fire Department Chief Jeremy Craft to the Council on Thursday.
The used 2017 Rosenbauer was found on the secondary market and is in Union Grove, Alabama. The truck will make the 1,785-mile trek to Lehi to join the City’s fleet and will be a reserve engine with an anticipated use of 8-10 years. This is the first time Chief Craft has purchased a used truck, but he said the used engine costs less than a new one, and new trucks are four years out for delivery.
“This purchase is to bridge the gap. We still don’t know if the insurance company will total the engine in the accident or rebuild it. If they rebuild it, then we’re looking at nine months minimum. If they total it, we’re being told it’ll be four years until a new one can be delivered,” said Craft.
The City ordered a new fire engine for the new West Lehi fire station, but the engine has already been delayed from the original 600 days to 800 days for delivery.