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Fort Kent Fire Department obtains new utility vehicle

FORT KENT, Maine — The Fort Kent Fire Department has a new utility vehicle which can travel into wooded areas and is primarily designed for combatting grass and brush fires.

FEMA awarded the FKFD a $125,000 grant to buy the vehicle, a Ford F-550 all-wheel drive unit that carries 300 gallons of water and is equipped with a pump and hose. The new truck can carry up to five firefighters and joined the department on Sunday.

“It will be able to operate off-road, which is something the other engines the department has cannot do because of their size and weight,” Fort Kent Fire Chief Ed Endee said Tuesday.

The new vehicle also will be used to tow the department’s rescue boat and emergency response trailer which carries the department’s snow ambulance and either a snowmobile or ATV depending on the season, according to Endee.

FEMA awarded the grant in September 2017, after which the fire department advertised for prospective builders for the vehicle. The low bidder was Dingee Machine Co. Inc. of Cornish, New Hampshire, which built the truck.

“We were delighted to be able to use FEMA grant money to provide much needed equipment for Fort Kent,” Endee said. “We’ve been successful recently with several FEMA grants.”

Among those grants was one for $127,000 to replace self-contained breathing apparatus equipment last year and another for $3,000 to pay for training the year before. The FKFD also recently received a $25,000 grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation to replace the department’s rescue boat.

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