State fire and safety laws, insurance safety requirements, and old age have village trustees looking to purchase a new or used fire truck to replace an aging attack pumper truck now stationed at the C.A. Lynch Firehouse.
Speaking at an Oct. 7 Village Board meeting, Trustee Donald Hackett, who serves as department liaison, said the truck was purchased in 1987 and a new one will cost about $490,000.
Trustee and former Fire Chief Brian Martin said fire trucks have a life span of between 25 and 30 years.
Additionally, the truck is an “open cab style,” and safety and truck fleet insurance laws now require fire trucks to have enclosed cabs, with a seat and seatbelt for each firefighter riding in the vehicle.
An attack pumper is the first truck out of the firehouse for a reported fire. It carries its own water supply and hoses so that firefighters arriving on the scene of a fire can begin to fight it. The pumper also has the ability to draft water from fire hydrants, nearby swimming pools, streams, creeks or rivers.
There are a number of options open to the village. It can do a retrofit and refurbish of the truck, which involves putting a new cab on the vehicle and refurbishing the rest of the truck. It can trade-in the current truck or sell it and purchase a new one.
Martin said selling it would be difficult. The village could get between $15,000 and $17,000, though it may be tough to find a buyer for a white truck. (Most trucks are red and white.) Doing a retrofit and refurbish isn’t the department’s first choice either because the truck would basically still be old.
Mayor William Murphy suggested that all trustees look at a book of specifications for a new truck prepared by the fire department and come up with suggestions for the Oct. 21 board meeting.
If trustees opt to go for a new truck, Murphy said he would probably put it before the voters as a referendum.
“It’s a big-ticket item, and I can’t see putting a $500,000 item on taxpayers without them having a say,” Murphy said.
Hackett also said the fire department will need to replace its high-rise ladder truck in about five years, and that could cost up to $1 million.
A high-rise ladder truck or a similar fire truck is a necessity in the village where buildings are as tall as 40–50 feet, which exceeds the height of the department’s regular ladders.