Wilton board reviews new, used options for firetruck

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WILTON — The considered purchase of a practically new versus used firetruck raised questions by the Board of Selectpersons Tuesday.

Planned as an update on the Fire Department’s search for an aerial truck, some board members considered approving a demo truck, one used for dealer demonstrations, until a second option was voiced — a 2000 quint with a tower instead of a ladder for $376,000 — costing $124,000 less than the $500,000 for the demo.

The board unanimously tabled the discussion until its next meeting on Jan. 6 and asked fire Chief Sonny Dunham, Deputy Chief Tom Doak and Assistant Chief Kyle Ellis to return with an evaluation of both vehicles and a recommendation on what the department wants.

Selectperson Tiffany Maiuri expressed concern that both options may be gone by then. 

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The dealers will be contacted, and if needed, a special meeting will be called before then, Town Manager Rhonda Irish said.

The department and Firetruck Committee have pursued a solution to the need for an aerial truck for many months, Dunham told the board.

After voters approved spending up to $500,000 for a truck last month, Dunham asked Ellis and Doak to discuss what they had found.

Ellis described an almost-new demo truck with a 78-foot ladder and full warranty, available for $500,000. 

The demo truck has 5,000 miles on it from taking it to shows, Ellis said. The quint has a 400-gallon tank and is the same brand as the department’s Engine 7, he said.

When asked what a new truck costs, Ellis said between $550,000 and $600,000.

Then Doak relayed information on an older vehicle just acquired by another dealer.

It is a 2000 quint with a tower instead of a ladder for $376,000, he said.

Doak suggested a need to paint the truck and rebuild the engine to ensure a “close-to-new engine.”

The truck comes with a phone system, a hydraulic generator and a five-year major component warranty, he said.

Board members questioned whether the demo had the hydraulic generator. It doesn’t come with it, but the department would take the generator from Engine 7, Ellis said.

“The Fire Department needs to get together and say what you want,” Selectperson Tom Saviello said.

Dunham responded that he wanted the new truck, but board members wanted a comparison of the two trucks and a full evaluation to see if anything else needed to be added to them.

That is a significant difference in price, Saviello said.

The department will come back with the pros and cons of a new versus pre-owned truck, as well as financing information, Irish said.

Dunham asked about using the $4,700 realized from the scrap sale of the department’s snorkel for lighting and lettering for the new truck.

At least three, maybe four, local departments are interested in purchasing Engine 7, he also said. 

Some board members wanted to see the truck sold, using funds from the sale for the new truck.

abryant@sunjournal.com

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