JAY — Selectpersons voted 3-2 Monday to appropriate up to $35,000 to have a Massachusetts company install new frame rails on the 2006 Engine 3 firetruck.

The frame of the rescue-pumper has “severe corrosion,” according to town officials.

Selectpersons Terry Bergeron, Tom Goding and Vice Chairman Tim DeMillo favored the option while Chairman Justin Merrill and Selectperson Steve McCourt opposed it.

The repair will be paid out of  the department’s Capital Account, which has about $365,000. The department’s equipment repair budget has been exhausted.

The work will be done at Greenwood Emergency Vehicles in North Attleboro, Mass., a dealer of E-One firetrucks.

Fire Rescue Chief Mike Booker had initially presented three options to the board for the repair. The E-One dealer offered a second option, similar to two other options to be considered for $15,000, after reading a Sun Journal article on the options selectpersons would consider.

Two other options from Maine companies were to either chisel, scrape and use a special paint system on the frame rails or sandblast them and use a paint system on them. Those prices ranged from $12,000 to $15,000.

However, Booker said the service person believed the cheaper route would be a band-aid fix. If it is that rusted on the outside, what is it on the inside? he asked. They could be right back where they are today in a couple of years, if they do not replace it, he said.

“It’s a big liability if we just kind of band-aid it,” Booker said.

The truck manufacturer, E-One, would give the department frame replacement rails for free but the town would be responsible for the cost to remove the current frame and install a new one, Booker said. The cost is estimated between $25,000 to $35,000.

The frame corrosion is beyond the warranty of the truck. 

The truck is only seven or eight years old and is expected to last more than 20 years.

The new frame would be galvanized, Booker said.

If the town had to purchase a new rescue-pumper, he said, it would cost $450,000 to $500,000. The truck has built-in rescue tools on it.

Engine 3 will be out of service for eight to 12 weeks while it is repaired, he said. 

The department’s officers recommend replacing the frame rails for liability and safety reasons.

Sandblasting or scraping and painting is really a short-term fix, DeMillo said.

Galvanized is a better way to go, he said.

If the truck was 25 years old and they wanted to get five more years out of it, then that would be the way to go, DeMillo said. But in this case it is the opposite and they need to get another 20 or 25 years out of it, he said.

The department has already fixed what they can on the truck.

McCourt said he would like to see a more definite bid on the repair instead of $25,000 to $35,000. 

“They don’t know what they will find” during the repair, Booker said. If E-One was not giving them the rails, the repair could cost $50,000 to $60,000, he said.

“I think in the long run we have to go with (replacement), Bergeron said. “Sandblasting will last a while but I don’t think it would last that long.”

DeMillo said he would hate spending $15,000 and then down the road having to spend another $15,000 on the truck.

“I’m all for getting it fixed,” Goding said. The original frame should have outlasted the truck, he said. 

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