More in Featured
Cost of quint fire truck would be $499K
This is the 2008 Pierce quint fire truck being eyed by Rumford and Mexico fire departments whose cost would be shared by the two towns.
MEXICO -- On April 30, fire chiefs Gary Wentzell of Mexico and Bob Chase of Rumford flew to Alabama to look at a 2008 Pierce quint fire truck -- an apparatus that serves the dual purpose of an engine and a ladder truck (105-foot ladder). Quint refers to the five functions it provides -- pump, water tank, fire hose, aerial device, and ground ladders.
Last month, selectmen from Mexico and Rumford agreed unanimously in a straw poll to share in the purchase of a newer fire truck to replace aging ladder trucks in both fire departments.
Addressing the Mexico Board of Selectmen at their May 8 meeting, Wentzell said, "This truck is four years with a lot of life left in it and no rest anywhere."
It didn't hurt that Wentzell had dealt with this company, Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus of Union Grove, when it was just getting started. Eleven years ago, his visit there resulted in the purchase of Mexico's 1993 Engine I. At that time, he said there were 26 trucks on the lot.
This time, there were well over 100 fire trucks on the lot and the business has sold more than 2,200 firetrucks.
Wentzell said the 72,000-pound truck, which has a 515 horsepower Cummings engine, needs a place for large diameter hose, but they found a place that could be used on the truck for that.
They put up the aerial ladder and flowed water through the aerial nozzle for about 45 minutes, as well as testing the remote control.
One of the concerns expressed by selectmen was why this truck, from the road salt free state of Washington, was let go by the community that had orginally purchased it. Wentzell said the truck had an overheating issue at one time, but it was addressed. Then that community got another deal on a new truck and got rid of this one.
However, he noted that this fire truck was driven over the Rockies and did not overheat. Wentzell and Chase drove the truck for 45 minutes after mountainous terrain as well. "We couldn't make it overheat."
Chase said the trek with the truck, done in 90 degree weather, compared to the Height of the Land here.
Then came the time for negotiation. Wentzell said the initial price tag was $599,000, but the salesman would let it go for $550,000. They then ran the numbers on trading in Rumford's 22-year-old ladder truck, which has been out of service for a while as they opted not to make the $65,000 in repairs, as well as Mexico's 1995 Engine II.
Wentzell said they were willing to pay $51,000 for both trucks and would also pick up and transport the vehicles.
In addition, the company is offering a two-year warrantee, would letter the truck, put on better tires, add a pull-out tray for the large diameter hose and deliver.
Selectmen in both towns had discussed a suggested cost proposal of an 80-20 split. Were the towns to purchase this truck, $430,000 would be paid by Rumford, with the remaining $70,000 through Mexico.
Wentzell said he has $60,000 in his equipment account, leaving the town $10,000 short until the town meeting. If approved, he would have the remaining $10,000 by July 1, out of an additional $40,000 asked of voters for the reserve equipment account.
Wentzell said if any other towns, such as Roxbury or Andover, decide to buy in for a truck, their yearly contribution would go towards the maintenance fund and for the future replacement of the truck. Chase attended a selectmen's meeting in Andover. Wentzell will be going to a selectmen's meeting in Roxbury.
Mexico Town Manager John Madigan noted "That would be that much less to come up with in 15 years to replace the truck."
Chase said this is a very clean truck, very well accessorized (not stock) and they would like to get 20 years out of it. However, he added while this might become the truck they purchase, they are keeping their options open and will continue their search for a quint fire truck.
He said they have been in constant contact with Andover and Roxbury. Chase said Andover selectmen felt they should have been a part of the workshop with Rumford and Mexico selectmen, but he told them they wanted a workshop with a smaller number, adding that it would be efforts of the towns of Rumford and Mexico that would make this purchase possible.
If these towns do buy into this proposal, Chase said using the same formula, Roxbury would pay 3 to 5 percent, with Andover paying 9 to 10 percent. He said Andover's options are to maintain their current ladder truck or share the cost of the proposed quint here.
For the purchase of the quint, Chase said voters in both towns will first have to approve the proposed fire department budgets, as well as approve the two-town agreement on the cost share for a fire truck.
If those are approved, before a truck would be purchased, it would require updated certification for the ladder as well as a pump test.
Chase said their department has most all the equipment needed to outfit the quint. The truck would be housed in the temporary building in the municipal parking lot across the street from the Rumford Fire Department.
He added, “I have an engine due in 2013 for replacement (Engine IV) and another one due in 2014 (tanker), and then the ladder, had it survived, was due four to five years thereafter, so we were looking at a million dollars in trucks potential for purchase in the next five to seven years.”
Chase said the purchase of the quint will fit into the existing capital plan because it would mean that Engine IV would not be replaced.
Mexico has an aging 1978 ladder that recently returned to service following repairs but is showing fatigue.
Chase said he envisions the collection of $35,000 a year in an account for maintenance as well as toward the purchase of a replacement.