Detroit Fire Department gets first of 10 new rigs

On Monday the city of Detroit unveiled the first of 10 new Fire Department rigs.

"This is the first of 10 and the first step in transforming our entire fleet for our fire department." said Edsel Jenkins, Detroit's executive fire commissioner.

Engine 27 went into service Monday and will be housed at the West Fort Street Fire Station.

For the firefighters who are assigned to it, it is like Christmas in July.

"This is fabulous," said firefighter Kevin Kelly. "I've had an older rig for the longest time and it's basically been a pump with four wheels." 

Firefighters say newer is better and they look forward to how this new rig will help them in what they do.

"I had response issues with my last rig, it wouldn't always start," Kelly said. "The pump handle is simplified, the lights are there. If I don't have street lights I don't have to worry about seeing pedestrians, the people walking and bicycling. 

"It's going to be a huge improvement."

Later this week, two more rigs will arrive for duty. And Jenkins says by the end of August, all 10 new rigs will be in service.

"It means we'll have less down time," Jenkins said. "And repair shops can concentrate on ladder trucks and other older engines that we have in the fleet."

Jenkins says the new rigs will also improve response times. 

"Our average response time to get to any spot in the city, is about seven minutes," Jenkins said. "But having these new pumpers in service and allowing our repair shop to keep all the other pumpers up to snuff, that will ensure that we will have a pumper wherever it's needed in the city within seven minutes."

Detroit resident Tony Davis says it's good news that shows the city is making progress. 

"Definitely going to help city," he said. "More fire trucks, better response time. It's fantastic."