Orange Beach added these two fire trucks in 2013 and is adding two more in 2019.

By John Mullen

November 15, 2018 – Orange Beach, AL (OBA®) – Congratulations! It’s twins for the Orange Beach Fire Department. Twin fire trucks that is.

“It takes seven and a half to nine months,” Fire Chief Justin Pearce said. “It’s just like having a baby.”

On Nov. 13 the Orange Beach City Council voted to spend $1.2 million to buy the Pierce pumper trucks from the Houston-Galveston Area Council. At the same meeting the council voted to buy two ambulances from the same company at a cost of about $600,000.

Pearce said the council wanted to go ahead and approve the purchase to try and get the trucks in service before the next busy season ends.

Orange Beach Fire Chief Justin Pearce.“We were discussing the build time and how long it would take to get those trucks built and delivered,” Pearce said. “If we waited until after the first of the year it would likely be the end of summer before those were built. The council wanted to go ahead and get those trucks ordered and we could hopefully have them in time for the next summer season.”

Pearce said his department requested a new truck in the 2018 budget but was turned down.

“We asked and requested to replace two pumpers in the (2019) budgetary process and the council agreed in the budget retreat to provide those,” he said.

These two new trucks will be similar to two the city purchased in 2013 in storage capacity and other capabilities. There is one difference that Pearce said will be helpful to the department.

“Where the trucks that we currently run, Engine 1 and Engine 2, have a top-mount pump or that stage in between the cab and the body where the pump operator would stand,” Pearce said. “It will not have that.”

Taking out the middle staging area for the pump operator to stand will shorten the trucks and making them easier to maneuver.

“When you put that mid-mount pump on there it adds about 18 inches to the wheelbase of the truck,” Pearce said. “It doesn’t sound like a lot but when you’re trying to drive around in condo parking lots any time in the summer it’s difficult to navigate with a longer truck. If you think about the turning radius of that truck and take a foot and a half out of it, it makes it so much tighter and so much more maneuverable.”

Two of the city’s reserve trucks are being retired and have been pressed into service when frontline trucks are down.

“One is a 1996 model and one is a 2000 model, they don’t meet current NFPA standards and we're experiencing out-of-service time with our fleet,” Pearce said. “The 1996 has over 105,000 miles on it and one’s a 2000 model with 127,000 miles on it. It’s hard to believe over 127,000 miles driving around the City of Orange Beach. That’s a lot of miles and they are hard miles. And that doesn’t even count the hours that the trucks have from sitting there idling when they’re operating at fire scenes and medical emergencies. If you were to actually calculate out the engine hours to useful miles it would be significantly more than that.

“They are well-used trucks and they’ve served us and the community well they are just past their prime.”

During the work session the council also discussed:

  • A resolution authorizing the execution of an agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation for improvements to the intersection of Alabama 161 and Terry Cove Drive Road. And a resolution authorizing the execution of a Bond Agreement with ALDOT to conduct improvements the state right-of-way.
  • A resolution declaring the “Severe Weather Preparedness” Sales Tax Holiday February 22-24.
  • A change in the city ordinance on parades to provide for additional regulation of special events.
  • A change in the city ordinance regarding the towing laws and collateral recovery.
  • Setting a public hearing date for a minor modification to the planned unit development Spyglass to address rear porch modifications.
  • Setting a public hearing date to amend the PUD for Broken Sound.
  • Setting a public hearing date for a rezoning request for the Lauder Pelican Subdivision. The 42.7-acre and 7.5-acre parcels are on the northeast corner of Lauder Lane and Pelican Place with the northern boundary being Canal Road.
  • Setting a public hearing date to amend the PUD for Cottages at Tannin for a residential development with 14 single-family residential lots on 1.10 acres.
  • Setting a public hearing to amend the Sunset Park PUD. Developers seek to change from a single-family condominium development with 60 units to a single-family residential subdivision with 44 lots. The property is at the northwest corner of Canal Road and Cypress Street.
  • Setting a public hearing and first reading for an ordinance amending Ordinance for the PUD for Summer Salt. The owner seeks to rezone 42.7 acres from general business to a PUD for a residential development containing 54 single-family residential lots and 58 cottage lots. It is located north of the Ruby Slipper restaurant.
  • Appointing Mindy Smith and Desiree Blackwell to the Employee’s Leave Bank Committee, each for a two-year term. They will serve until Dec. 4, 2020. Permanent members are City Administrator Ken Grimes, Human Resources Director Vicki Pishna and Finance Director Ford Handley. Employees whose term expires in October of 2019 are Nathan McMillan and Seth Brumley.