The Dixfield Fire Company used the 1967 Ford as a squad truck for the past five or six years until it failed a state inspection and was returned to the Maine Forest Service. Submitted photo

Dixfield Fire Company Deputy Chief Derek Bryant, left, and Fire Chief Scott Dennett address selectmen in December about the need for a squad truck. The board granted them authority to replace a 1967 Ford that was returned to the Maine Forest Service after it failed a state inspection. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

DIXFIELD — The Dixfield Fire Company is shopping for a squad truck to replace a 1967 Ford that won’t pass state inspection.

Selectmen recently gave Chief Scott Dennett and Deputy Chief Derek Bryant authority to investigate vehicles and prices and report back to the board.

The 1967 Ford is a loaner from the Maine Forest Service and has been used the past five or six years. It was taken out of service by the state after it failed an inspection. Since then, Bryant told selectmen, firefighters have used their private vehicles to haul gear and hoses.

The chief and deputy chief said a squad truck is needed for to transport firefighters, gear and equipment, assist with medical and police calls, traffic control and woods fires.

Bryant said firefighters have been advised to keep gear contaminated from fire and accident scenes out of firetruck cabs and transport it in a vehicle with an open body.

“As you may have seen, the fire industry is very high in cancer, so they’re telling us not to put the equipment in the truck,” Bryant told selectmen. “When we come back from a scene, we’re trying not to put the fire gear in the truck. This (squad truck) gives us an opportunity to transport the gear outside of the truck, not in the truck.”

Dennett said there is money in the equipment account to help pay for a squad truck.

He said the hope was to get everything needed all at once. “But we’ve kind of given that a second thought. We said if we could at least get the truck itself, we can look for the skid unit in the back that could be added later.”

A skid unit is a tank, pump and hose mounted on a self-contained platform.

“What we’d be looking at is buying a cab and chassis and having a utility body mounted on it,” Dennett said. “There are a couple of manufacturers in the state we could go to for that. We don’t have to go to a fire apparatus manufacturer, which would probably add to the cost of it.”

Dennett said they can look at getting the unit either through the equipment account or fundraising. “But the imminent need is the truck itself.”

He said the Newry Fire Department has a vehicle similar to what Dixfield is considering. It cost $80,000, including the skid unit.

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