Selectmen to ask voters to alter bond resolution

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Beacon Falls firefighter and emergency medical technician Kurt Novak stands next to a 25-year-old fire engine at Beacon Hose Company No. 1 earlier this year.  –FILE PHOTO
Beacon Falls firefighter and emergency medical technician Kurt Novak stands next to a nearly 25-year-old fire engine at Beacon Hose Company No. 1 earlier this year. The town is buying a new fire truck and is asking voters to alter a bond resolution so the truck can be purchased soon. –FILE PHOTO

BEACON FALLS — Voters will be asked Monday night to amend a bond resolution so the town can move forward with purchasing a new fire truck sooner rather than later.

A town meeting will be held Monday at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at Woodland Regional High School to discuss and vote on the matter.

Early this month, voters authorized the town to bond up to $700,000 to buy a new 75-foot quintuple combination pumper fire truck, which is also a ladder truck. The town was planning to purchase the truck after it had applied for a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that could cover up to 90 percent of the cost. It could take until July for the town to hear if it had received the grant. The bond resolution approved impedes the purchase of the truck until July 1, 2014.

However, after a fire destroyed a home at 144 Blackberry Hill Road Sept. 8, the Board of Selectmen began looking into the possibility of purchasing the truck sooner without seeking the grant.

“Here we had a single-story structure that was on fire and just to vent the roof guys were put in harms way by putting a ladder against the building and a ladder on the roof. As the fire personnel were watching, the smoke was turning different colors and the roof could have caved in and we could have lost one of our guys through the roof into the building,” First Selectman Gerard Smith said at the board’s meeting Sept. 9.

Three people were injured in the fire.  

Frederick Strumpf, who lived in the house, suffered burns to a significant part of his body in the fire, officials said. Firefighter Jim Trzaski broke his arm when he fell through the floor, which had been weakened by the fire, officials said. Firefighter Mike Rupsis sprained his elbow when he was knocked over by a hose.

The vote Monday night will be on whether to remove the encumbrance currently in the bond resolution that blocks the town from bonding for the fire truck until July.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Harry, Harry, Harry. First of all the people of this town have no idea of what you are talking about. They already approved the purchase of the ladder truck. Monday night they reaffirmed that they are willing to take whatever risk and wait for to see if the town qualifies for grant monies to pay for it.

    As for your other claim. I certainly hope you are going to follow up your statement with facts as it seems that you know something that the rest of the town does not. Otherwise we townspeople will have to assume that this is nothing but a political jab made in desperation by the B team to grab headlines. And if you are just a non-partisan bystander, we are all waiting for your equally revealing dissertation on candidates who owe back taxes.

  2. Last night vote just shows that the people of this town are tried of jerry smith and all his spending. We can not keep spending money the way he does.We had corrpution in the town clecks office he covered up, we had it at the town garage he covered up. how much more has he hidden

  3. With last night’s vote 92-54 to keep the resolution as originally passed, this issue is resolved. We wait until we get the decision on the FEMA grant. As mentioned last night, the FEMA grant has not been officially opened and apparently no one knows when this might occur, or if it will ever occur. But we will wait.

    Should the grant never be opened, or we are denied as we have been in the past, will we enter another battle if the cost of the truck goes up? Probably.

    What I take away from last night is that I will remember which of our current Selectmen candidates stood up and took a position which is what I expect of our Selectmen, and the one who did not.

  4. Emotion aside, the point about safety being the same as the last 10 years is accurate. We have reciprocal agreements with neighboring towns, and it has worked effectively for over a decade. The argument about the time it takes for a ladder truck to arrive at a fire has some merit; but depending on where a fire may occur, it’s possible a neighboring town’s ladder truck could get there first.

  5. Wisdom I am not sure I understand why you say the purchase is a “huge mistake”. I can only assume you mean by not waiting for the grant answers. The concern there is the “what if” factor. What if someone gets hurt before the grant answers come in, what if we did buy it and someone’s life is saved, what if it is my house that needs it and it takes 13 minutes for the remote towns to come in to help Beacon Hose.

    Beacon Hose always goes above and beyond what they are asked to do. I have never heard them so no to any task that is asked of them.

    The engine in question was stated at the town meeting that it is not compliant with NFPA standards they must follow. I believe it was stated about the open cab concern. Also, the repairs to the truck are happening more often and getting more expensive. That I feel is a waste of tax payer’s money. Putting money into something that will be replaced. You will never get those funds back.

    We should put our funds into something that will be here longer than 8 months.

    These men and women do this town proud and us as taxpayers should show our support. Yes we should question each item, but they have provided the information needed to justify this purchase.

  6. jd06403 well said. I have lived in this town my hole life and what these men and woman do for free is amazing. They should get what ever equipment they need. What this town can’t afford is a paid fire department know that will put BF in bankruptcy. Every resident should be THANKFUL for our VOLUNTEERS. I personally think wisdom you should find out how to become a volunteer. I know i don’t have what it takes to do what these brave VOLUNTEERS do. From what i can see jrpotpie may be a volunteer and my be able to get you an application. THANK YOU THE MEN AND WOMAN OF BEACON HOSE YOU WILL ALWAYS BE #1 I MY EYES

  7. It appears to me that we are playing with fire. This is a safety issue for both the fireman who must risk his or her life, or the family that could be trapped in a burning building. It is that unfortunate driver that plunges in the the Naugatuck River and having the tools to reach that person safely. It is you and your famliy as much as it is mine, and those that have responded to the this article who are holding out hope that we will qualify for this FEMA grant. This is a question of safety.

    No one disagrees with buying the ladder truck, just when & how. Can we afford to wait another year before this truck is available? We can assume that the fire departments that respond today under mutual aid will always be there when called. But it takes only one incident when that truck is delayed for there to be a tragedy.

    Can we afford those minutes? There is no right or wrong answer because we cannot see into the future. If I was confident and convinced that there will not be an emergency needing this truck for the next year, I might play the odds and vote to wait. But I don’t know. I am not wiling to take the chance that it might be my home or family in that burning building.

    Emotional response on my part, yes. But if we are going to buy this truck at some point regardless, I vote on the side of preparedness.

  8. jrpotpie are you trying to be obstinate. Yes fires are dangerous thanks for clearing that up for everybody. The equipment available today is the same as it has been for time. So you are no more or less unsafe then at any other point. Buying a truck on town credit without waiting to see if a grant would be given is wrong on so many levels it would be hard to put into this forum. For the record I believe we should purchase a truck after we have exhausted the other funding avenues. The town can ill afford to keep going on this borrow and spend direction.

  9. Wisdom, what do you mean by “no more unsafe” and “these fires have nothing to do with safety”? Fires are dangerous.

  10. The fireman are no more unsafe then they were for the last few years. These fires have nothing to do with safety. Voting for this is a huge mistake for BF. The current first selectman is on the path to borrow and spend BF into bankruptcy.