PALMER RAPIDS – The Township of Brudenell-Lyndoch-Raglan council is scrambling to come up with a solution after three of the four fire department’s fire trucks failed a pumper test.
Firefighters and council met to discuss the issue at a special meeting on June 25.
Also in attendance was Jeff McNiece, president of Asphodel Fire Trucks and sales representative Morley Kosmack.
“The trucks are in very bad shape,” McNiece told council.
The trucks do not comply with the Office of the Fire Marshall’s regulations, putting the township at risk for potential liability, he explained.
The truck that did pass the pumper test ended up failing a vacuum test. McNiece said that should require only a minor fix. Then there is the 1989 truck that failed the pumper test, but McNiece anticipates that the truck only requires a small fix as well. He said it will cost around $3,000 in total for the department to utilize both trucks.
However, two others are of particular concern, including the 1974 and 1980 trucks. McNiece estimated it will cost around $20,000 each to bring them up to code.
McNiece provided council with a proposal for Asphodel to lease the township two fire trucks over 10 years.
“It’s becoming more and more popular all over the place,” he said.
In his presentation to council, he provided two lease options, including one that requires a $50,000 down payment and another one with no money down on a 10-year lease.
“It sounds like a hard pill to swallow,” McNiece said. “Some people say why not buy a used? Used is what you have bought in the past and used is what got you into problems.”
He added that there is a standard now, which requires frontline pumpers be under 20 years old. BLR’s newest truck is 25 years old.
With Asphodel’s proposal, McNiece said, the township would have the chance to buy the trucks out for $1 after the 10-year lease. Then he said the township could lease another two trucks to replace the older models.
“In 10 years time, you would be within the guidelines of the regulations,” he said.
McNiece also encouraged the township to explore billing insurance companies for any call that the fire department attends.
He cited several townships that recoup up to $100,000 per year in extrication costs alone.
“If you gained $25,000 back, now that just paid half of your lease,” he said.
Meanwhile, McNiece said that the fire marshal is well aware of the failed pumpers.
“It’s not something that can be ignored,” he said. “If a house burned to the ground, the insurance company will come back and charge the municipality the full cost of the house. At this point in the game, the municipality is going to be on the hook for a lot if they don’t do anything.”’
Get your July 2, 2014 edition of The Valley Gazette to read more of this story.