PERU — The Peru Fire Department has won a $6,300 grant to buy a generator for its Worthley Pond annex

Peru Fire Chief Bill Hussey told the Select Board on Nov. 25 the Fire Department had been awarded a $6,300 grant to pay for a generator for the department’s Worthley Pond annex. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times Buy this Photo

Fire Chief Bill Hussey told the Select Board on Nov. 25 that the competitive grant within Oxford County was through the Maine Emergency Management Agency and supplied by U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

He said he applied for the $6,300 grant last May to cover the cost of the generator the department sought.

The award was made Nov. 21.

Hussey said the generator will provide heat and open the bay door if power is lost. The 2017 building is also an emergency warming shelter for the community.

He said he still has to prepare an environmental impact study before obtaining the generator.

Prior to talking about the successful grant, Hussey told the board the Fire Department’s application for an Assistance of Firefighter Grant (AFG) was unsuccessful.

Board Chair Raquel Welch asked how the Fire Department would have used the grant.

Hussey said they applied for a $160,000 grant for breathing equipment and other gear.

“Everything we have is usable, but not compliant,” he said. “But we can use it because we keep it clean and we don’t wear it out, like some full-time departments do.”

Regarding the air tanks, he said, “We’ve been told we can have them either until we buy new or get another grant, which could be a year from now.”

At a recent workshop in Rumford, Hussey said a representative from the Federal Emergency Management Agency brought up Peru’s AFG application on the computer and said it was a strong application. But it failed because the department did not have enough calls.

“I said: ‘How do we change that? Do we start setting fires everywhere?'” Hussey said.

The FEMA representative said 9,000 volunteer fire departments applied for the money. He encouraged Peru to keep trying.

The Select Board authorized Hussey to apply for the next round of AFG grants.

Hussey said the grant application period is from Dec. 2 to Jan. 20.

In other matters, Hussey state inspections was made on the Fire Department’s three trucks last week, and only one of three passed — the newest truck.

Engine 11 needed new tires ($2,200) and a brake chamber and Engine 12 required a grease seal in the back, a small repair, while Tanker 13 passed inspection.

“We’ve been trying since June to get them inspected,” Hussey said.

The board also accepted the resignation of John Evans as the town’s code enforcement officer and approved a motion from Carol Roach to send Evans a letter of appreciation, noting “we would be willing to give him recommendation toward future applications for employment.”

Said Roach: “I thought he was particularly responsive and good. He wrote good letters, careful about wanting to understand the town and geography. I’m sad to have received his resignation letter, but happy he was able to find employment with benefits.”

The board unanimously approved a Christmas bonus of $75 for each town employee who works at least 20 hours per week. The money will come out of the general fund.

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