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New Budget, Fire Engine For SCFPD
New Truck
This gleaming new fire engine has spent the last few weeks undergoing installation of equipment and radios and should be officially in-service at the end of this month. From left, Engineer Jeremy Smith, Firefighter Daniel Bergquist, and Captain Les Porter are looking forward to the day it will be servicing the Riverbank community and the district. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS


Two new fire engines arrived in early June for the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District (SCFPD) that serves the Riverbank community and officials said both units should be in service at the end of this month.

The engines spent several weeks getting the necessary equipment installed from various local vendors, explained Deputy Fire Chief Michael Wapnowski. The response personnel must complete in-service training prior to the engines being used in the field. The training will include specification orientation from the manufacturer, drivers’ training in both emergency vehicle operations course, and road driving as well as various pumping evolutions.

Station #36 on Topeka Street in Riverbank will house one of the fire engines and the other will be at Station #31 on Mitchell Road in Modesto, which services the south side of the District and the Beard Industrial area.

“Both engines will be staffed 24 hours a day by one Captain, one Engineer and one Firefighter,” stated Wapnowski. “The new apparatus will replace the current first out fire engines at those locations.”

The 2015 Pierce Velocity Fire Engines have a pumping capacity of 1500 gallons per minute and can carry 750 gallons of water. They were paid for through the apparatus replacement account, according to Wapnowski.

The 2015-16 budget has been approved which had some increases; however, there have been revenue increases as well, explained Fire Chief Randall Bradley, who was elated with the balanced budget.

In a press release from SCFPD regarding the budget, information provided was as follows: SCFPD Board of Directors approved the District’s preliminary 2015/16 budget at a regular board meeting held in June. The $12,546,000 operating budget maintains high levels of service by keeping staffing levels the same and ensuring a well-trained workforce with a focus on firefighter safety. The budget included funding for the implementation of a paramedic program and a reduction in overhead costs through the utilization of technology to automate administrative processes.

“We didn’t have to raise our assessment so I think that is a win-win,” added Bradley. “I think everybody was pleased with that.

“We had to work hard to get there but we were able to get there.”

Also in the release it stated that the Board also approved the District capital replacement budget, which included the replacement of a water tender, command vehicle and a staff vehicle in the upcoming year. The vehicles will be funded through the District’s vehicle and apparatus replacement fund. Also approved was the second year of a three-year funding plan to replace the fire station in Waterford. Through developer fees and the three-year funding allocation, the District will pay cash for the new facility that is expected to be completed in late 2016.

In 1995 the District was formed and includes unincorporated sections of East Modesto, Riverbank, Waterford, Empire, La Grange, and Hickman. The District also provides fire protection services to the City of Oakdale under a contract which began in September 2014 and includes Valley Home and Knights Ferry.

For the past year and half since Bradley first arrived at Station #36 in Riverbank, he has seen progress and a team that works really well together.

“I think we have done some good things so far,” expressed Bradley. “I am thrilled to death to be here.”

The chief also took time to issue a safety message for residents.

Bradley explained that the community needs to be extremely careful when mowing or using power equipment around dry grass.

“If you have dry grass around your property that defensible space is so important,” stated Bradley. “We are here and we will be there quickly. We are well trained and well equipped but we need their (community’s) help.

“If we can prevent the fires from occurring in the first place I think everybody wins.”