“That truck shakes so bad at certain speeds, you can feel your insides shaking,” Fire Chief Ken Hanks said.
Deputy Fire Chief Ellen Murray will ask the Board of Mayor and Burgesses tonight to refer the matter to a joint meeting next week between the borough board and the Board of Finance. The joint boards will decide whether to transfer the money for the repair from the borough’s contingency fund.
While the joint boards were putting together this year’s budget, firefighters knew something was wrong with the truck but were still getting the problem diagnosed, Hanks said. Repair shops determined the hardware that holds the axles in place was damaged.
The damage is causing the truck to bounce and the tires to wear quickly, Hanks said. A set of tires for the truck’s eight back wheels costs $6,000, an amount that would have to be spent every year unless the repair is made, Hanks said.
“We should get two and a half to three years out of one set of tires, not one year,” Hanks said.
The constant bouncing is causing stress to the frame of the 7,000-pound truck, which could sustain further damage if a repair is not made soon, Hanks said.
Superior Spring in Hamden is the only repair shop that will take the job on, Hanks said. The back axles must be removed and all the pieces that attach the axles must be replaced, he said.
“We brought it to two repair shops and they would not touch it,” Hanks said.
The ladder truck, which the department knows as Truck One, is dispatched to every call involving a building — whether a confirmed fire, smoke or just an alarm, Hanks said. The truck resides at the department’s 41 Maple St. headquarters and answers between 700 and 800 calls a year, Hanks said.
Hanks will also broach the subject of a new pumper truck to the joint boards next week, he said. That could cost as much as $580,000, but Hanks wants the boards to commit to the expenditure before he puts it out to bid.
“We want to have seven or eight companies bid on it,” Hanks said.