What happened this week with HFD's fire trucks?

By Joel Eisenbaum - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - More problems.

Channel 2 Investigates verified with the Houston Fire Department that three fire trucks broke down: a ladder truck stationed on Houston's southwest side, a rescue truck stationed on Houston's southwest side and a fire engine on Houston's southeast side.

On Friday, the ladder truck was pulled out of front-line service after recurring reliability issues, the rescue truck and fire engine are back in service.

Why does HFD have so many issues with their fire trucks?

Fire trucks are bound to break down every so often because they run around the clock.

However, HFD's aging fleet of emergency vehicles means breakdowns happen more often.

The Houston Fire Department does not repair or perform maintenance on its own vehicles. That job is left to the city of Houston's Fleet Management Division.

Channel 2 Investigates has found the two separate city departments are not always on the same page regarding necessary repairs and repair schedules.

The Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association believes the city of Houston has neglected to purchase enough new fire trucks annually.

How does HFD determine which fire stations get certain equipment?

Houston Fire Stations, of which there are 94, are not all equally equipped.

HFD's command staff considers various factors in terms of apparatus distribution.

Primarily, HFD looks at the service area, housing density, other nearby available equipment, and special needs in certain areas.

For instance, HFD tries to ensure that ladder/tower trucks are available in areas where there are high-rise buildings like downtown and in the Galleria area.

How much do fire trucks cost?

New fire engines are approximately $550,000 (four new engines just arrived this month). New ladder trucks are approximately $940,000.

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