Wilton board approves spending $500,000 for aerial fire truck

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WILTON — The Board of Selectpersons voted 4-0 Monday to purchase a 2013 HME 78-foot aerial quint firetruck, as recommended by the Fire Department and town manager.

A demonstration model used only for shows to promote HME quint trucks is available for $500,000. The amount was approved last month by voters to cover the department’s aerial truck needs.

During last week’s board meeting, fire Chief Sonny Dunham, Deputy Chief Tom Doak and Assistant Chief Kyle Ellis updated the board on two trucks they had found, the 2013 demo and a 2000 Pierce quint costing $376,000.

Board members appeared ready to go with the first truck until the second vehicle was described. They then wanted a recommendation from the Fire Department and a comparison of both vehicles.

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They were not planning on a vote, but there was concern that the opportunity would be gone if the board waited till its next meeting on Jan. 6.

The New Hampshire dealer, Lakes Region Fire Apparatus, Inc., put eight demos up for sale within the past two weeks. Five of those demos have already been sold and the truck was the only one left at that price, Town Manager Rhonda Irish said of the reason for the special board meeting.

The truck is expected to arrive in 60 to 90 days, she said. Several items will be added to the truck as requested by the department. 

The only thing not covered in the price is lettering, estimated to cost nearly $1,000. Selectperson Tom Saviello offered to pay $100 toward it, she said.

The department’s Engine 7, also an HME, is up for sale. The Firetruck Committee recommended selling the vehicle.

The HME quint has a life expectancy of 25 years, opposed to the Pierce quint’s estimated 15 years, she said. Parts for these vehicles can be harder to find and maintenance becomes more expensive after they pass a certain age.

Differences noted between the two trucks include the fact that one truck has a straight ladder, while the other has a bucket. Rescues can be easier with a ladder versus the bucket, where the victim would need to be lifted and placed inside it. The ladder also allows for a closer reach to structures and is easier for the department to position. The overall cost of maintenance for a ladder truck is also cheaper, she said.

Irish is researching financing options, and whether the truck should be obtained with a lease or bond. The term would be 10 years, she said.

Selectperson Paul Berkey was not at the meeting, but participated by phone for part of it. He did not vote.

abryant@sunjournal.com

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