In an on-going effort to provide Kiowa County firefighters with much needed tools to safely and effectively fight fires and deal with medical emergencies that occur in the county, Kiowa County Fire Chief Howard Votruba is known for always being on the lookout for ways to improve and/or add to the department’s firefighting equipment without depleting an already tight budget.
He seems to have really outdone himself this time.
On August 30th, Chief Votruba picked up a 1991 Pierce Fire Engine that was donated—yup, you read that right, donated—to Kiowa County by the Hudson Fire Department. And, just for the record, this isn’t just any fire engine.
The Pierce Fire Engine has a 1000 gallon tank that is foam capable, a generator for scene lights and other needed electricity and an Amherst Jaws of Life Power Unit, including cutters and spreaders. In other words, this isn’t a fire engine where it was a choice between giving it to Kiowa County Fire Department or selling it for scrap; this engine is big, powerful and very well equipped. In fact, it’s in such good shape that Hudson had originally planned on donating it in 2016 and then decided to keep it in their department for one more year.
So, how did such a valuable piece of equipment end up in the Kiowa County Fire Department fleet of engines? It might be described as being in the right place at the right time, and making certain to be the first one who got there.
As Shannon Votruba, Public Information Officer for K.C.F.D., describes it, “In 2016, we were given information that Hudson Fire Department was considering getting rid of their 1991 Pierce Fire Engine. Contact was made with their Chief, and he told us to turn in the request to the Hudson Fire Protection District.” She continues, “That initial request was then denied as they decided to keep the truck. Then, in July 2017, Hudson requested that Kiowa County Fire expand on their initial request. Fire Chief Votruba then submitted a second request, this time to include the Jaws of Life unit on the truck. He also explained the benefits this truck and equipment would have for Kiowa County.”
On August 16th, Chief Votruba was notified that Hudson had decided to donate the truck to Kiowa County. A little more than two weeks later, Chief Votruba picked up the truck and brought it back to Sheridan Lake where, on September 3rd, it was put into service as engine 8.
This engine will be used as a light rescue and structure truck and replaces a 1976 Pumper that only had the capacity to hold 350 gallons—in other words, one third--of water.
When asked for comment, Fire Chief Votruba said, “This engine is a welcome addition, and the Kiowa County Fire Department cannot adequately express its gratitude to the Hudson Fire Protection District for its generosity.”