Grand Marais approves FEMA grant to obtain new fire truck

Grand Marais Fire Chief Ben Silence and Aaron Mielke of the city’s fire department appeared before City Council on March 28 to say that they were recently notified by FEMA that the city has been awarded a $209,950 FEMA grant to be used toward the purchase of a new fire truck. The approved project cost is $221,000, leaving the city to kick in 5 percent of the total, or $11,050.
Silence credited Mielke for filling out the application and following up on the paperwork, and said the process is now “surprisingly simple” for a federal program: the department has to get two bids for the new vehicle within 30 days.
In response to a question about the cost of the fire truck versus the amount of the grant, Silence said the department actually began pricing the trucks last summer, and the anticipated cost is between $190,000 and $195,000, so the grant ought to cover all of it. Silence also said that the department has already received some inquiries from interested manufacturers. The new tanker/pumper truck will come fully outfitted and ready for service. Delivery is expected in about a year.
Council voted to accept the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant and go forward with the bidding process.