The Norwich Township Fire Department will soon have a new tool available to them respond to both structure fires and automotive situations.

The Norwich Township Fire Department will soon have a new tool available to them respond to both structure fires and automotive situations.

The department's newest vehicle, a Sutphen fire engine, arrived at the station last week. The vehicle is outfitted to serve as both an engine and rescue vehicle, according to fire chief Dave Long.

"This can carry all of our automobile extrication equipment, which is the 'rescue' part, and it's also set up as a standard engine with a water tank and all those capabilities," Long said.

The township's new engine was ordered about 12 months ago. Long said a year wait is standard for a new engine.

"It all depends on how busy the manufacturer is; these engines are built from scratch," Long said.

Cost for the new engine was about $500,000, Long said, which includes radio and equipment installation. A new fire engine has a shelf life of up to about 15 years, he added - the new vehicle will be used for front line service for eight to 10 years, and then will typically be placed on reserve for about five years after that.

"We run three engines as our front line, and have one engine in reserve. We then have an aerial ladder and three medic units," Long said. "This engine is being set up for rescue now; the two engines at our other two stations have some limited capability, but aren't set up as full rescue vehicles."

Long said the new vehicle will be out on the streets in a few more weeks, once radios and equipment have been installed. Norwich Township firefighters will also be trained in its specific use, he said.

"We'll train everybody on that truck, how the pump operates," Long said. "Every generation of vehicle has new technology, so we'll do all the equipment and driving training before it goes out."

Long added that the fire department will soon go over its fleet and decide which unit the new engine will replace.

"We will probably retire one, and we'll move one to reserve, so we'll be looking at mileage, wear and tear before we decide which one we retire," Long said.

The new engine will be easy to spot as well, adopting the township's uncommon fire engine color.

"It's definitely green," Long said.

The Norwich Township Fire Department includes a team of 86 full-time firefighters at three stations located in the township, including a seven-member administrative staff that manages prevention programs and services, training and emergency medical services.

lrice@thisweeknews.com