Portland puts electric fire engine in service with traditional ceremony

Portland’s new battery-powered Volterra fire engine is the second electric fire truck in service in the country


Portland Fire & Rescue/Facebook

By Bill Carey
Editorial Staff

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Fire Department has placed its first electric fire engine in service, the second of its kind at work in the country.

The city’s new Engine 1, built by Pierce Manufacturing, was unveiled in a traditional push-in ceremony at the firehouse, KGW8 reported. The Pierce Volterra fire engine is battery-powered but with a diesel engine backup.

“Having the opportunity to have zero emissions is going to be monumental for our firefighters,” Portland Fire and Rescue Spokesperson Rick Graves said.

Portland’s new fire engine can carry six firefighters, 500 gallons of water and run on a 10-hour charge. The new truck’s zero emissions benefit the environment and firefighters. When the need for extended use or range is required, the Volterra switches to its diesel backup.


“It is our responsibility to protect their well-being. The Volterra zero emissions operation significantly reduces their exposure to harmful toxins found in diesel exhaust fumes,” Portland City Commissioner Rene Gonzalez told KATU.

With many firefighters falling victim to cancer due to prolonged exposure to cancer-causing toxins, such as vehicle exhaust, the commissioner and fire department believes the new electric fire engine is a critical part of protecting firefighters.

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Madison, Wisconsin placed the first Pierce Volterra in service earlier this year.