LIVERMORE FALLS — Selectmen gave the go-ahead for Fire Chief Tim “TD” Hardy and fellow firefighters to apply for a grant to buy a new firetruck to replace Engine 3, a 1981 pumper truck.

The approval was by consensus Sept. 16. The Assistance to Firefighter grant is offered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The town’s match would be 5 percent.

Hardy believes the Fire Rescue Department has a good chance of getting the money because of the town’s demographics, its aging fleet and the 11 building fires since January 2013.

The town’s second pumper truck is a 1993 model.

The reason the 1981 pumper lasted 34 years is because when Engine 1 was brought on 13 or 14 years later, it took over as the No. 1 pumper, Hardy said.

New pumper trucks can cost between $400,000 to $450,000, Hardy said.

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The department has two pumpers, an aerial truck and a tanker truck. The latter was bought through the grant with a town match.

Hardy estimated the cost of a new pumper would equal $5.65 per person a year for 25 years. The truck has a life expectancy of 25 years.

If a major overhaul repair was needed on a pump on one of the existing pumpers, he estimated it would cost $17,000 to $20,000.

A fair amount of maintenance has been done on Engine 3 over the past few years. The brakes have been worked on, new tires put on and Hardy believes there was some transmission work done.

Selectman Mary Young asked if there was a reason why the department couldn’t run with one pumper and how it would affect insurances.

Hardy said it would depend on the town’s Insurance Services Office rating. The group provides advisory services and information to many insurance companies, including risk factors, according to www.iso.com.

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The rating for insurances, including homeowners, is based on the number hydrants, water needed and how far a residence is from the Fire Station, among other factors.

“You would probably see the effects in rural areas because of the amount of water the department could carry,” Hardy said.

“I would rather have you go for a new truck than go for a used truck and have problems,” Chairwoman Louise Chabot said.

Used trucks do not qualify for the grant, he said.

If awarded a grant through the Assistance to Firefighters program, the town wouldn’t be able to sell the old truck as a firetruck, he said. It could be sold but not for anything related to firefighting. He estimated the town would get $5,000 for it.

The grant is due in December. The application must be done four to five weeks before that.

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