New fire truck purchase pondered
Hellertown Fire Chief Mike Maguire was on hand to summarize a lengthy report presented to council outlining their search for a new fire truck July 15.
The purchase would be a quint fire truck to replace an existing fire truck made by KME Fire Apparatus. A quint is a multipurpose fire truck that covers five areas of needs to the borough. They are pump, water tank, fire hose, aerial device and ground ladders. The plan is to send Hellertown’s requirements to around eight companies for bids with KME not on the list.
The approximate cost of the new firetruck would be about $1 million. Hellertown Council member Mike McKenna asked Maguire, “I know it’s a sore subject and I’m just want to ask, do we not want to send it to KME?” Maguire believed there was a lot of expense in running the existing KME truck since the borough purchased it. He said KME trucks look nice, but they are “mechanical nightmares.”
Council member Philip Weber suggested they still get a quote from KME as comparison to other quotes because they had nothing to lose by doing it. Maguire didn’t object to that and suggested they could get quotes from all the companies available.
Council member Gil Stauffer asked what’s the tallest building in Hellertown, Maguire responded with 650 Northampton St., explaining that is why they are requesting a 100-foot ladder capability. Council member Earl Hill asked what the difference in price between a 75-foot ladder and 100-foot ladder, with the response being $100,000-200,000 less for the 75-footer.
With the budget in place, President Thomas Rieger expressed concerns about the cost as it relates to the new fire truck and how much it would eat into the budget. He said he wants to avoid a situation of needing to take a loan out if one of the other trucks developed a problem. Maguire said he believed they would still be under budget and mentioned the intention is to sell the KME truck and he believed they could get up to $250,000 dollars for it. Rieger still expressed reservations becuase an existing truck still retains so much value.
Maguire said in the state of Pennsylvania a truck’s service life is usually 15-20 years, with some trucks lasting as much as 30 years. The existing KME truck was purchased in 2006, making it 13 years old. Maguire did add that on a 15-year old truck, updates are needed, which adds to the overall expense of the truck.
Before sending the bids out, the board must approve the bidding process and then once the bids are in, council would have to approve and award winning bid. According to Maguire, if ultimately approved, they would receive the new truck in October, but it wouldn’t go into service until March after fire department personnel get the necessary training with it. With some council members apprehensive, the issue was tabled until the Aug. 5 meeting.