WJAR: Providence Fire Department obtains new rescue thanks to grant

WJAR: Providence Fire Department obtains new rescue thanks to grant

By Bill Rappleye

The Providence Fire Department has obtained a new rescue, thanks to close to a million dollars in federal funding.

Another big purchase is already in the works, as well.

Grants go a long way to keeping the firefighter fleet up to date and the federal delegation is instrumental in bringing home the dollars.

Congressman Jim Langevin said the acquisition of a new firetruck reminds him of when he was paralyzed by an accidental gunshot 38 years ago, noting that a ride in a rescue was a matter of life and death.

“Providence emergency medical personnel, in a mobile life support just like the one you see behind me, drove me with the medical personnel support services, up to Boston, and got me there and kept me alive the whole time,” Langevin, a Democrat, said during a news conference Monday.

The Broad Street Fire Station is the busiest in the city. The rescue truck there had hundreds of thousands of miles on it.

“Our rescue — rescue one that you see behind us — goes on about 5,000 calls a year,” Providence’s Commissioner Public Safety Steven Pare said. “So, they’re a busy company.”

When the department receives an upgrade, Sen. Jack Reed, who is also a Democrat, said it can benefit people beyiond city limits.

“This is going to be a new ambulance, which will provide increased capabilities to our fire services, our EMS services,” Reed said. “It’ll help the people of Rhode Island. I mean Providence, but not just Providence Because with mutual aid, these vehicles are likely to go all over the metropolitan area.”

In addition to the rescue, which cost $175,000, the department will also buy a ladder truck for nearly $800,000.

The nearly million-dollar federal grant came from the Federal Emergency management agency, or FEMA, under its assistance to firefighter grants. The city has to match the money with $97,000.