Prospect to acquire new fire truck

PROSPECT — The Prospect Volunteer Fire Department will replace a 23-year-old pumper truck with a new model, which fire officials say will offer enhanced safety features and a 60-gallon foam tank.

Fire Lt. William Lauber, at podium, fields questions from residents about Prospect's need for a new pumper truck.

The purchase will be financed through an eight-year lease/purchase agreement between the town and Oshkosh Capital of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. A down payment of $62,434 is due at contract signing, and Mayor Robert Chatfield said that amount had been accommodated in this fiscal year’s budget. The down payment also gives the town a $21,000 discount off the $559,000 truck, bringing the loan’s total principal amount to $537,840.

Another payment of $62,434 will be due in September 2011, and seven payments of $70,056 apiece will be due in September 2012-September 2018. Those payments include approximately $80,000 in financing fees and interest, which will accrue at 3.44 percent annually.

Pierce Manufacturing of Appleton, Wisc. will manufacture the Pierce Arrow XT Custom Pumper Truck. The company was the only bidder, according to Chatfield.

About 50 town residents Tuesday assembled in the town firehouse to ask questions and vote on the purchase. Officials including Chatfield, who is also the assistant fire chief, and Fire Lt. William Lauber III stood in front of the old truck as they fielded questions about the need for a new pumper and the details of the purchase’s financing.

The fire department of the neighboring Town of Cheshire provided their 2009 truck for comparison; Chatfield said the model was a “very close representation” of the one Prospect will now buy, after voters overwhelmingly voted the motion though.

The old truck, which was put into service in 1988, is currently used as a reserve and is used only when the department is “overwhelmed,” Lauber said.

The main “number-one safety issue” of the old truck, he added, is its open-cab design. Manufacturers stopped building open-cab trucks in 1991, when the National Fire Protection Association revised its standards to require crew-cab-style trucks. Prospect’s old truck was grandfathered in at the time.

Additionally, the truck has lap-style seat belts, rusted equipment compartments and a leaky pump which is patched as needed.

The new truck would address these concerns and boast additional safety features such as airbags, rollover protection and traction control, and an on-board defibrillator.

It will be powered by a more fuel-efficient, diesel engine that meets current federal Environmental Protection Agency standards.

The new truck will also carry foam, which officials said suppresses fire more efficiently than water.

Additionally, Chatfield said, a contractor (ISO Mitigation) rates the town yearly for its capacity to suppress fires; that rating is used in evaluating fire insurance rates.

“If we don’t get [the new truck], it will affect everyone’s insurance rate in the town of Prospect,” Chatfield said.