JERSEY CITY, NJ - Jersey City officials welcomed the addition of, and, as part of a fire service tradition, blessed, three new fire trucks for its fleet on Tuesday. The delivery of an aerial platform apparatus is expected later this month.

JCFD Chief Steven McGill said the three new vehicles will replace two fire trucks that are already two years beyond the 15-year life expectancy and a 13-year-old vehicle that was built by a company that has since gone out of business. “It is very difficult to get parts to make repairs,” he said. “We are trying to buy vehicles that are largely the same make. This will reduce the cost of repairs in the future.”

McGill said the department tries to replace two or more vehicles yearly in order to keep the fleet current. Vehicles are generally maintained by a certified fire repair person in the Department of Public Works unless the job is large and then it is sent out to a New Jersey company for repair, he said.

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The Department has 26 companies which includes 16 engine companies, nine ladder companies, and one rescue.

The three new trucks come with a five-year warranty so most repairs will be covered by the manufacturer, and feature a larger engine which allows them to put less strain when pumping water at the rate of 200 pounds per minute.

“While other municipalities around the U.S. remained paralyzed amid the pandemic, in Jersey City we have worked to prepare for the pandemic aftermath and to further efforts to improve public safety and the various needs of our residents and small businesses, especially as we work together towards recovery,” a statement from Mayor Steven Fulop’s office read.

COVID-19 had an impact on the fire department, McGill said. At the worst, 95 personnel had tested positive – seven are still under quarantine. 

With a force of 666 firefighters, including 44 recruits due to be sworn in shortly, it never became necessary to shut down firehouses due to personnel shortages, McGill said, adding that the did have to make some “hard choices” and there was a potential for “brownouts” during the worst of the crisis. 

“We chose not to give overtime in order to keep down risk of additional firefighters contracting the virus,” McGill said.

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