PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — New equipment is coming to the Pekin Fire Department courtesy of a grant program.

The city approved the purchase of a new fire engine and adios for the department, thanks to the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program and Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program.

The department received federal funding totaling $136,363 for the purchase of radio equipment to be used with the county-wide radio system being implemented in Tazewell County.

“Communication is key to keeping our responders safe,” said Deputy Chief of Pekin Fire, Tony Rendleman. “All Tazewell County agencies will not only be able to talk to each other for the first time, but also will be able to communicate with agencies across the river. This is an important development given the current state of police, fire, and EMS services.”

The City of Pekin will also have a new fire engine later this year or early 2023, dependent in part on manufacturing time. According to Community Development Block Grant Manager for the City of Pekin, Dave Bess, the purchase of the fire engine was made possible through the Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program, which is administered by HUD.

Bess described replacing the outdated fire equipment and apparatus as an “urgent need” within the fire department. However, new fire engines can have a starting cost of more than $500,000.

“In considering the best ways to ensure and afford sufficient fire response capabilities moving forward, it was learned that many communities utilize CDBG in their Low-to-Moderate Income area to promote and enhance fire safety,” said Bess.