LIVERMORE FALLS — Selectmen directed the fire chief Wednesday to get prices  and options for a combined ladder/pumper/tanker truck.

It would replace the 1988 ladder truck and the 1993 Engine 1.

Fire Chief Edward Hastings IV has applied for a $500,000 grant through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to buy a truck. A new one would cost $1.2 million to $1.5 million.

A decision on the purchase would go before voters.

Hastings IV and Jim Welch, the shop manager of Reliance Equipment in Vassalboro, told selectmen repairs for Engine 1 and the 1995 Engine 6 are estimated at $36,240.14; $13,518 for Engine 6 and $22,722.14 for Engine 1.

The estimates do not include any repairs that are unknown at this time.

“The trucks are getting older and repairs are getting longer and longer. At what point do we stop putting money” into repairing them? Hastings asked.

An estimate for repairs to the ladder truck is expected in the future.

From July 1 to Dec. 19, the town spent $13,542.68 on repairs and maintenance for the department’s six trucks, including $250 for a 1926 Maxim firetruck.

Every year Reliance Equipment does a pump test and gives a detailed report on its findings, what work was done and what it recommends, Welch said.

When a repair of the waterline leak on Engine 1 was done, the pump compartment had to be cut to access the pipes, he said.

“You’re not talking a $500 repair, you’re not talking a $5,000 repair, you’re talking much higher because of the difficulty to get to it,” Welch said.

According to the repair estimate, there are multiple plumbing components and fittings within the pump compartment that are severely rusted or deteriorated. Several have been replaced or pose risk of injury to personnel and/or damage to equipment. The pump impeller shaft, the heart of the pump, is heavily damaged from sand or debris.

Even with the repairs, Welch said he cannot guarantee there won’t be more leaks.

Engine 6 has had repairs and needs general maintenance, Welch said. The pump is in fairly good condition, but a lot of small items need to be fixed.

There is plenty of life left in Engine 6, Welch said.

Hastings got Engine 6 from federal surplus administered through Maine Forest Service, he said.

Welch cautioned officials to be sure that any used truck they look at is a good one.

He suggested asking voters to approve up to $500,000 in case a good truck comes up right away, because it might not be available if they wait two weeks to hold a special town meeting.

[email protected]

filed under: