MINOT — Fire Chief James Allen provided a detailed report to the Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee on Tuesday night, justifying the replacement of Engine 8, which has been out of commission since May because of  “a catastrophic pump failure.”

The report states the fire engine has had mechanical failures over the past several years, including “a catastrophic brake failure” at the intersection of Minot Avenue and Woodman Hill Road in August 2017. It also failed annual pump certification tests for three years running, 2014 through 2016, passing the 2017 test by only 10 gallons per minute. Allen’s narrative also cited “new ball joints, frame corrosion, turbocharger replacement, electrical issues and alignment issues requiring replacement of both front tires.”

“Engine 8 was the town’s primary response vehicle since it was delivered in 1995,” Allen said. Since taken out of service, Minot’s Fire Department has moved resources to provide a minimal level of coverage at each fire station.

A firetruck is available at each of the three stations — Central, Orchard and Village — to provide the functions of Engine 8, but not as designed for that use and not to the requirements set forth by National Fire Protection Association and/or Insurance Services Office, according to the chief.

Tankers have to act as a pumper in the Central and Orchard stations and the 300-gallon mini-pumper in the Village station, the department’s fast-attack truck for small fires lacks sufficient water for larger scale fires. Each of these trucks can only accommodate a crew of two.

According to Allen, “A qualified attack crew minimally is composed of one driver and two interior attack personnel.”

Engine-8 could carry five firefighters.

“The replacement for Engine 8 should not be merely to replace what we lost, but to look to the future as this vehicle will also have an expected life span of 20-25 years,” Allen said.

Town Administrator Danielle Loring prepared financial scenarios for principal loan amounts of $300,000, $400,000 and $500,000 for the terms of five, seven and 10 years and what the annual payment would be. For example, on a seven-year term for $300,000 the annual payment would be $48,399.14; $400,000 would be $64,532.18; and $500,000 would be $80,665.23.

Androscoggin Bank, which would provide the financing, stated interest rates would probably increase by March 2019 when the fire engine warrant question will be included in the Minot town meeting.

In other business, Buster Downing, representing the Cemetery Committee, requested $5,000 to be raised at the town meeting toward maintaining and completing projects in the town’s cemeteries. Although the grounds work is done by the Highway Department, he said, “It does not include maintenance of the stones or additional grounds work that may be necessary.”

Downing said the investment in the cemeteries would serve a twofold purpose of paying respect to the founders of the town and encouraging residents and other individuals to purchase lots knowing they will be cared for.


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