Onalaska firefighters train on new fire engine - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Onalaska firefighters train on new fire engine

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Onalaska, WI (WXOW) -

The Onalaska Fire Department has a new tool to fight fires.

Three years ago, the City of Onalaska saw a need.

"The truck that this replaced was a 1992 Peterbilt," said Jim Netwal, firefighter at Onalaska Fire Department. "So, that was a good truck, but old and breaking down."

Taxpayers and city officials decided to make a new fire engine a priority.

"To provide the best we can afford the best we can afford for the best people that we have, and that's our fire and EMS personnel," said Chief Don Dominick of the Onalaska Fire Department.

The new fire engine is up to the latest standards. The Wisconsin-made apparatus took eleven months to build at Pierce Manufacturing based out of Appleton. Although it is considered a pumper engine, it is equipped with the latest extrication and EMS equipment.

"As newer apparatus, just like your own family car, as we acquire them, we have much more in the way of technology," said Dominick.

"Not only is it for the protection of the firefighters, but it's also for the protection of the public when they're responding," said Mark Evel, trainer for Pierce Manufacturing. "It makes their job easier."

Evel travels around the country training firefighters on their new equipment.

"They're all pretty close to the same," he said. "It's just different faces, and they all have the same goal of protecting the public."

Evel trained Onalaska firefighters on Wednesday one lever, nozzle, and button at a time.

"Good bunch of guys," Evel said. "They understand, have a lot of questions."

They ask the questions now so that when future calls come in from Onalaska residents, the response is as safe and efficient as possible.

Evel says fire service is rapidly evolving. He says an increase in job duties for firefighters makes bigger trucks with more equipment necessary.

Dominick adds that a new fire engine is good news for taxpayers as it ultimately keeps insurance rates down.

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