DIXFIELD — East Dixfield fire Chief Randy Hall was ecstatic on Tuesday morning.
On Monday, the volunteer East Dixfield Fire Co. Inc. took delivery of a 2011 International pumper, its first new diesel pumper in 30 years.
“We're pretty excited to get it,” Hall said.
On Tuesday, he had the $200,000 firetruck on display beside the fire station on Route 2. He also took the push-button automatic for a short ride on the More Acres Road-Route 2 loop.
“I never thought I'd see the day when we'd have a new truck,” Hall said.
“We applied for a grant for the last five or six years and haven't got anything for a truck. Each year they kept telling us that we got booted out.”
Because East Dixfield is split along the Wilton and Dixfield town lines, the two towns have shared costs to outfit and build a new station for the company.
In 2008, Hall approached selectmen in both towns seeking to replace the company's 1981 GMC pumper, which had a list of mechanical issues. The old truck was also given a 25-year life expectancy in 1981.
In October 2010, Dixfield and Wilton selectmen unanimously approved buying a new truck. Each town at their respective town meetings approved spending up to $100,000.
“The $200,000 was split equally between the two towns,” Hall said.
The new truck was built in Florida by E-One, which is a worldwide designer, manufacturer and marketer of fire rescue vehicles.
It has a five-man cab, holds 1,000 gallons of water, can pump 1,250 gallons a minute, and has a Class A foam system.
The foam system will be used on structure fires and wood fires; essentially anything with wood fibers, Hall said.
Four of the cab seats have self-contained breathing apparatuses.
“It came fully equipped, loaded with hose, new nozzles, hand tools, and ladder,” he said.
“All we had to do was fill it with water and put a radio into it. The radio's on order and it's supposed to be here by the end of the week.”
“We hope to have it in service by the Fourth of July,” Hall said.
The new pumper will replace Engine One, a 1981 GMC pumper that was put in service in May 1981. The company plans to sell the old firetruck.
“A couple of people are interested in it, but not for firefighting,” Hall said.
Additionally, the new truck means the station can return Dixfield's Engine One firetruck, which has been on loan to the East Dixfield company for two years.
That will make room in the station for the company's tanker truck, which Hall has kept in his garage.
“When we get the radio in the new one, then we'll take a few of the fittings and tools off (the 1981 truck) and put it onto the new one, put the new one in service and take the 1981 one out of service,” he said.
The new pumper is a necessity for the company, which provides mutual-aid to Dixfield, Wilton and Jay.
Back when the old truck was in service, Hall said the company averaged 12 calls a year.
“Now we average about one a week,” he said. “It's crazy."
"Last year we responded to 52 fires, motor-vehicle accidents and mutual-aid," Hall said.
"We've seen an increase in the last three to four years, mostly in motor-vehicle accidents.”
The department currently has 16 firefighters, all volunteers.