Travis Seifert knows just about every inch of the vehicles in the Minot Fire Department’s fleet.
That includes the department’s latest engine, which Seifert and others are currently preparing for service.
“We put a lot of thought into these vehicles before we order them,” said Seifert, the mechanic for the Fire Department. “We meet with the company before we order it, and we meet during the building process, too. We can follow the truck’s progress on a website.”
Seifert is part of the Fire Department’s truck committee, which includes Battalion Chief Mason Maxwell and other firefighters. The committee members also help get the engines ready for service when they arrive in Minot.
“We try to order them as complete as we can so they’re just about ready go when they’re delivered,” Seifert said. “But there are always things that we need to do to get them ready for service.”
The truck’s cab is made of aluminum, with the body made from stainless steel. The cab and chassis were made in Florida, then shipped to New York for the final build. Eventually, the truck was driven to Rochester, Minn., for final touches, and then driven to Minot.
Maxwell said the new truck is identical to Engine 4, which was put into service in November 2022 at Station 4 on Minot’s east side. The newest vehicle was ordered in November 2021, and construction began at the end of 2022. It was delivered to the Minot Fire Department at the end of April. The engine, which weighs 40,240 pounds, cost $602,550. It has a life expectancy of approximately 14 years.
“We bought this truck on the same bid as Engine 4, so we saved a lot of money by ordering it that way,” Seifert said. “We order it, then we have a pre-build meeting. We also have a meeting with the dealer before it’s delivered and we nitpick everything. Then they drive it to Minot, and we do another detailed inspection to see if there’s anything else that needs adjusting.”
Some of the things necessary to complete this engine include installing mounting brackets for all the equipment, adding the radios and additional lighting, as well as installing and wiring heavy duty flashlights in the engine’s cab and adapters for all the truck’s hoses and pumps.
“We’ll also install anything that might have been forgotten when we order a truck, which can happen because there’s so much stuff to remember,” Seifert said. “Right now, we’re waiting on some parts for mounting some of the tools, and all the mounting brackets are different. So we’re kind of at the mercy of the supply chain.”
In mid-May, Seifert was working on making adjustments to the seat backs in the rear of the cab. The seat backs also hold air bottles, and the brackets needed to be moved by about an inch to fit all the types of air bottles the department uses.
“We mount a lot of the equipment that goes inside the cab, so we work with the crews to determine where they want it to go,” he said. “Sometimes, it’s just little adjustments, but everything has to be right so it works every time they need it.”
Seifert said the parts could potentially be delivered to Minot this week, which would allow crews to finish prepping the engine for service in a week or so.
“We try to set up all the trucks as close to the same as possible,” Seifert said. “If you’re looking for a hammer, it should be in the same compartment on every truck. That makes it easier for crews when they need things in an emergency.”
When it’s ready, the new engine will remain at Station 2, and the ladder truck at Station 2 will be housed at the new Station 5 when it opens this summer.