Prospect Fire Dept. in need of new truck

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BY ANDREAS YILMA
Citizens News
PROSPECT — The Volunteer Fire Department is proposing the purchase of a new $1.2 million rescue truck to replace its existing 1993 truck.

Residents will be asked at a meeting on June 18 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall to approve the purchase.

Fire Chief Michael Guastaferri said the department contracted consulting firm MissionCIT to study the needs of the department which concluded the department was on the right track for the replacement plan and are hitting all of the national standards on timelines; the department needs a new rescue truck as its 31 years old now; and the firemen don’t need a ladder truck as the town doesn’t have buildings tall enough.

“In its simplest form, a rescue truck is basically an equipment and people mover. It doesn’t have a water tank; it doesn’t have a pump on it for water,” Guastaferri said. “It’s basically just compartments to move people and equipment from the firehouse to the fire scene which is why I thought it’d be the easiest one to do.”

Fire officials looked at refurbishing the fire department’s current rescue truck but because of its age, it would require taking the body of the truck and mounting it on a brand new cabin and chassis. So it would be several brand new items including the motor, transmission and axles and that was almost $1 million to refurbish the truck, Guastaferri said.

Apparatus Replacement Committee Chair and Volunteer Fire Department of Prospect Lt. Ronald Pugliese Jr. said a couple of national standards that set the service life for fire apparatus states that after 30 years, a fire truck should be taken out of service.

Gowan Knight, a company in Watertown that sells and maintains fire trucks, estimated the cost of refurbishing the truck to be about $950,000 with a replacement of the cab and chassis, Pugliese said.

“We think that the Pierce is an overall higher quality vehicle. Our entire fleet is Pierce so everybody knows how to run a Pierce, they know where all the shifting is and all that stuff,” Pugliese said.

“There wouldn’t be a gap in training, getting people to drive the new truck. It’d be seamless moving from one truck to the next.”

Out of two final bids, fire officials are recommending to go with Firematic for a Pierce truck which firefighters are accustomed to with their other apparatus. It would take about 40 to 48 months for delivery.

The new proposed fire truck one will be shorter than the current rescue truck with a six-man cab, an 18.5 foot body and a 450-horsepower engine.

Mayor Robert J. Chatfield said payment wouldn’t be due until 2028 upon delivery.

Guastaferri said the current rescue truck can get by for the next four years.