Council considers purchasing pumper for New Auburn

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AUBURN — Councilors could vote Monday night to replace the Fire Department’s New Auburn-based No. 2 pumper truck.

Interim Fire Chief Geoff Low said the truck failed last fall after two years worth of maintenance issues.

“The biggest issue we had was in August 2010, the truck was on the road after being serviced,” Low said. “They were doing a driving test and the turbo failed, which forced oil out on the manifold and that resulted in a fire.”

The department is currently using a 1988 truck, one kept as a reserve.

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“We have a critical need, right now,” Low said. “We are currently using a truck that’s less than adequate.”

Councilors are scheduled to vote on the plan to replace the truck at their regular meeting, 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6, in Auburn Hall.

Low said plans call for leasing a temporary 1996 pumper truck for the next nine months, until a new replacement could be found, purchased and customized for Auburn’s purposes.

Low estimated the city could take delivery of the new pumper truck this fall. It would be based in the South Main Street station serving the New Auburn area, from the area south of Auburn Hall to Danville.

The lease would cost $30,000, and Low estimated the new truck would cost about $650,000.

“This would be a bid,” interim City Manager Don Gerrish said. “We would put this out publicly and get the best price we could, so we don’t know exactly how much it would cost yet.”

It would be paid for with a combination of unused revenue from previous bond issues, $150,000 from a 2010 bond issue previously set aside to for work on the Central Fire Station and a $225,000 bond issue approved by councilors last year.

Low said the Fire Department hopes to get at least 12 years of service out of each truck. The old No. 2 pumper just hit the 12-year mark, but Low said it had been a maintenance problem since the 2010 fire.

The truck, a 1998 American LaFrance pumper, was built in New Brunswick, Canada. They spent $7,900 to fix the truck after the fire, but the repair problems kept popping up.

“While they were able to repair the truck and get it back on the road, there were lingering electrical issues,” Low said. “The wiring harness suffered some pretty significant damage.”

The city spent $8,046 in 2010 on repairs and another $22,557 last year.

“Each time the truck would come back, they told us they’d resolved all the issues,” he said.

It finally failed last fall.

“We discovered there was a leak in the water tank,” Low said. “We were not able to see exactly where it was. The cause is that the body of the truck, the mounts in the back have worn away. It’s allowed the body to shift in, and we believe it’s worn a hole in the tank.”

staylor@sunjournal.com

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