WILTON — Options, including purchase of an aerial firetruck and contracting with other towns for fire coverage, were discussed during an informational meeting Tuesday at Academy Hill School.

A committee has looked at various options over the past year, Wilton fire Chief Sonny Dunham told a small gathering of residents, firefighters and town officials.

The Fire Truck Committee was formed after the department’s 1973 Ward LaFrance snorkel truck did not pass inspection last August. The truck has since gone to the junkyard.

Two selectmen, three firefighters, Richard Hall and the town manager have pursued ideas and sent out surveys to area businesses. They will continue their work before making a recommendation, he said.

Meanwhile, Farmington Fire and Rescue and Jay Fire Department have agreed to provide aerial firetruck service if the town continues to make an effort to reach a decision, Dunham said.

Options considered so far include purchasing an aerial truck to replace the ladder truck in 2015, replacing the snorkel truck and Engine 7 with an aerial truck or contracting with Jay, Farmington or both for aerial truck service, Town Manager Rhonda Irish said. 

There are a lot of options, she said, inviting comment and ideas from those attending.

The committee has considered purchasing a used aerial truck for $400,000 to $600,000, she said. A new one is about $1.2 million, she said.

Irish provided options for financing $500,000 and $1.2 million loans for 15 and 20 year periods. Yearly payments on $500,000 would start around $38,000 the first year and drop to $33,000 by the 15th year, or $31,000 the first year down to $25,000 for 20th year.

For a $1.2 million loan over 25 years, payments would start at $80,000 the first year and drop to $60,000 the 25th year.

Preliminary discussions with Farmington and Jay for contracted service was estimated at $13,900 for Farmington or $11,607 for Jay. The Jay figure does not include manpower, she said.

Response time for contracted service is also something to consider, Deputy Chief Tom Doak said. From Jay, with two hills to climb on the way, it could take 20 minutes to reach a fire in Wilton, he said. Depending on where in Wilton, Farmington would probably take 10 to 15 minutes, he said. Wilton Fire Rescue is able to respond in five to seven minutes, most of the time, he added.

Assistant Chief Kyle Ellis explained the difference between mutual aid and automatic mutual aid, which is where every department is called out at once and brings the resources requested.

“Mutual aid is very important for everyone,” he said.

But some residents questioned the need to pay for what they considered mutual aid from Farmington and Jay.

“Should we send our tanker over there for free?” Dennis Landry asked.  

Farmington does not have a tanker truck.

While they do come for mutual aid, these towns paid up to a million dollars for their trucks, Irish said.

Surveys sent to town businesses indicated some would be affected without adequate fire protection, Selectman Tiffany Maiuri said. While they would stay in Wilton, they would not expand.

Doak and Cap. Robert Burdick went over the trends of firefighting equipment and trucks. 

The department has done a needs assessment, Burdick said. Wilton has some older buildings. Many are taller than what the department has for aerial equipment to reach the upper floors. Apartments are proposed for the fourth floor of the Bass building.

This is the first discussion, Dunham said, and other are expected.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.