Wilton voters to decide on new firetruck

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WILTON — Selectpersons will ask voters at town meeting in May to approve the purchase of a new firetruck for $115,000.

It would replace one bought from the Gorham Fire Department in 2008 that now has motor problems, Chief Sonny Dunham said. The department has spent about $4,000 in repairs over the past two years, he said.

The new truck the department is proposing to buy is smaller and would be used for brush fires, accidents and backup at structure and chimney fires, volunteer fireman Kyle Ellis said. It will have a 300-gallon tank, a booster reel and hose, and a discharge and intake system for refilling the tank. It also would have a heavy-duty bumper for a winch and a siren and speaker system.

“This truck is small enough that it doesn’t take as much training to operate as the big trucks,” Ellis said at a Tuesday night selectpersons meeting.

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He said the new truck would use less fuel and save the department money. It is also more maneuverable in tight places than other department vehicles.

Deputy Fire Chief Tom Doak said the new truck would be helpful in assisting neighboring fire departments, would allow five people to travel to a scene and has room for all necessary equipment.

It would be paid for with $95,000 from the tax-increment financing account, $17,000 from the Fire Department capital account and the rest from the sale of a department forestry truck.

Selectpersons asked how long it would last, and Doak said the life span is over 20 years.

Selectperson John Black asked if the Fire Department had looked at used vehicles.

Dunham said they had.

Doak added that used firetrucks they looked at didn’t meet the department’s needs. Newer used trucks cost $150,000 or more.

“Why is this one such a good deal?” Black asked.

“I don’t know why,” said Dunham, who pointed out that the department did extensive research on all of the trucks they considered.

In their discussion of financing the purchase, Selectperson Jeffrey Adams said he fully supported the use of TIF money to benefit the town.

Board member Ruth Cushman agreed, saying she wanted to see money put in the Fire Department’s capital account next year to fund future needs.

bmatulaitis@sunmediagroup.net

“This truck is small enough that it doesn’t take as much training to operate as the big trucks.” — Kyle Ellis, Wilton Fire Department

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