Prospect able to strike a deal, shell out for new fire truck

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Engine 5 is parked in a bay at the Prospect Volunteer Fire Department. Archive

By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

PROSPECT — The Prospect Volunteer Fire Department will soon be welcoming a new apparatus it is purchasing at a discounted price to replace its most used truck that is nearing the end of its useful life.

Prospect Fire Chief Bill Lauber said Firematic Supply Company, a dealer and distributor of firefighting equipment, confirmed Wednesday that the department is locked in to purchase the new truck to replace Squad 3 rescue engine truck.

“The fire department was able to secure funding in our corporation separate from the town,” Lauber said.

The fire department was able to secure a loan for $769,710, Lauber said at a special town council meeting Tuesday night after presenting a fire apparatus replacement plan to a dozen members of the public in attendance.

Lauber said he signed a contract Tuesday to secure the funding. The fire department won’t have to use the full amount of the loan, he said.

Town officials are working on a plan to present to the public on how to buy the truck from the fire department, Lauber said.

“It’s been over 30 years that the fire department had to purchase a vehicle of this magnitude,” Town Council Chairman Jeffrey Slapikas said at the meeting.

Fire departments can typically buy apparatus as a demo or custom. A demo or stock truck is the standard truck the manufacturer builds, while a custom truck is one the department would design from the ground up, according to Lauber.

The apparatus committee, designated to find a replacement for the Squad 3 truck, reached out to different manufacturers and found a truck from Firematic.

“The committee felt it would suit Prospect’s needs perfectly,” Lauber said.

The demo with upgrades would comes to $769,709. The department’s current Squad 3 truck has an $85,000 trade-in value to bring the cost to $684,709. If they went out to purchase as custom and add the necessary upgrades, the total cost would be close to $1 million according to Lauber.

“For something to present itself that fits our needs, its was something we needed to move with it,” Lauber said.

Jeffrey Slapikas. Contributed

Those upgrades include adding compartments in the cabin of the truck for medical supplies, installation of snow chains for traction, adding a 360 degree rotating light tower, adding intake valves on both sides of the truck and moving control switches to the passenger side for the officer in charge to control lights and sirens, according to Lauber.

The fire department’s current Squad 3 truck has an engine and truck tools. It responds to fire suppression, ventilation, search and rescue, rapid intervention and specialty rescue, according to Assistant Fire Chief Mike Guastaferri.

“It’s by far the most heavily used apparatus and responds to a wide range of different calls,” Guastaferri said in the apparatus replacement presentation.

The fire truck, which went into service in 2003, responds to motor vehicles, hazmat incidences, gas spills, mutual aid, fires and general lock assistance. It also carries 1000 galloons of water.

The Squad 3 apparatus responds to motor vehicle accidents, which is the most calls they receive, Lauber said.

The National Fire Protection Association, which set the standards for fire protection, says 20 years is the maximum life expectancy. The Squad 3 truck will be 20 years old in 2023.

The truck has had $42,000 worth of repairs since 2016, which doesn’t include regular maintenance. The turbocharger has been replaced but the frame suspension and fuel tank all have coercion issues. The truck has some ongoing electrical issues and its storage is no longer adequate due to the new equipment, Guastaferri said in the meeting.

The fire department and its bank, as well as Firematic, should close the deal shortly after the new year, according to Lauber.

Lauber said he is thankful for the town council’s support of the volunteer fire department’s needs, and for the seven-member truck committee for putting in the time to find a replacement for Squad 3.

“I could not be more happy with the way this turned out. We always have the support from the town behind us and it allows our volunteers to have the safest equipment possible,” Lauber said.