LFRA engine construction to begin in August

Supervac and LFRA officials have finalized the plans and order the engine’s cab

By Dana Rieck

Reporter-Herald Staff Writer

POSTED: 04/18/2016 05:43:13 PM MDT

Original Article

FORT COLLINS — Loveland Fire Rescue Authority officials have finalized the plans for a new fire engine after City Council approved funds to purchase the apparatus in January.

While at the Super Vacuum Manufacturing facility Wednesday, Loveland Fire Operations Division Chief Greg Ward said the agency began working to standardize its fleet of five frontline engines — so they are identical — in 2010.

This engine will be the third engine built to regulations detailed in a 130-page outline put together by an apparatus committee made up of two city of Loveland mechanics and seven Loveland Fire Rescue Authority members.

“It’s a standard a fire engine,” Ward said. “So we’ve got a standard fire engine in each of the five stations that we staff. We are replacing a 1998 reserve engine, so this is just a normal replacement cycle.”

That engine, Ward said, is currently housed at the training center in south Loveland. Once this new engine is built, he said, it will replace the engine at Station 3 and the reserve engine will either be sold or donated.

Station 3’s current engine will replace the 1998 reserve engine at the training center.

The new engine’s price tag came in at approximately $475,000.

“We went out and got different bids from manufacturers to build the truck,” Ward said. “And SVI was the company we chose with the (first engine) and we’ve been able to stick with SVI for the last two, plus our rescue truck, to help with that standardization.”

On Wednesday, both Ward and Super Vac vice president Robert Sorensen said that working at locations close in proximity to each other has made the process more efficient and cost effective for both Super Vac and Loveland Fire Rescue Authority.

“When we need something done to (the engine), it’s here, it’s local,” Ward said. “… And the other part that is really beneficial for us is that they’re building the truck, if they run into something they have a question on they can call us and we can come up and take a look.”

Ward said building a truck out of state, like the agency’s new ladder truck built in Wisconsin, means communication has to be largely through video conferencing and email.

“We would much rather work face-to-face than over the email,” Sorensen said.

They both said not having to take trips to confirm plans and inspect the final product saves them money in overtime pay and travel expenses.

Super Vac moved the approximately 150-employee business to northeast Fort Collins in March 2012. The company had previously been located in Loveland for 52 years.

Sorensen talked about the process of building an engine like this and said that the company has ordered a customized Spartan chassis cabin. It should arrive in late August.

From there, Sorensen said, the workers will begin to wield sheet metal onto the frame that will become the back of the fire engine.

“We will begin water jetting and cutting sheet metal in that same time frame,” he said. “We can actually build it completely without the cabin chassis. We’ve actually done that a lot lately.”

Ward said the engine is scheduled to be completed by the end of the calendar year.

The Loveland City Council approved $512,000 to replace the 1998 reserve fire engine during the Jan. 19 meeting.