By Anna Lothson
Recently, River Forest decided to end an intergovernmental agreement with Oak Park for the service of a jointly purchased fire truck. The move puzzled Oak Park officials, but River Forest leaders said they made a decision in the best interest of their residents.
That decision has paid off for River Forest. It was announced Monday that that village was awarded $608,000 from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to a news release.
The grant will fund 95 percent of the cost to purchase a Quint fire truck. The truck will carry hoses, water, ground ladders, a 1,500 gallon per minute pump and a 75- foot aerial ladder.
"A Quint will greatly enhance fire response in the village, and allow us to continue to provide the highest possible level of fire protection service to our residents, businesses and visitors," River Forest Fire Chief Jim Eggert wrote in the release.
The vehicle to be purchased with the grant funds will replace a 1981 fire truck that was taken out of service in late 2012. The new truck will have a single rear axle which will allow the fire department to maneuver into tighter spaces typical of River Forest lots as well as Concordia and Dominican universities.
The truck will also be designed as an advanced life support non-transport vehicle that will enable firefighters/paramedics to respond to emergency medical calls and provide service to patients or victims of an accident prior to arrival of a transport ambulance. This feature allows the fire department to respond to simultaneous calls in the village without having to wait for assistance from a neighboring community.
"Award of this grant is a significant accomplishment for the village and Deputy Fire Chief Bob Nortier. Deputy Chief Nortier has spent countless hours applying for this grant over the past eight years and without his hard work, the village would not have secured this grant and saved River Forest taxpayers more than $600,000," Village Administrator Eric Palm wrote.
River Forest is in the process of creating bid specifications for the truck and plans to take possession of the Quint in early 2014.