Upton Fire Department at work
On Saturday April 26 Chief Goodale sat down with Upton Daily and talked trucks; specifically Fire Engines, Ladder Trucks, and Quints.
Upton is scheduled to replace a 26-year-old Engine this year under the Town’s Capital Improvement Plan. The Town is also faced with replacing Ladder 1 which is 29 years old. Both trucks are front-line fire trucks (trucks which respond first to an emergency) and according to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) a front-line fire truck older than 25 years should be removed from service.
According to Chief Goodale in addition to not meeting NFPA recommendations both trucks continue to have significant repair issues due to their age costing the Town thousands of dollars each year. Replacement parts are becoming difficult to find for the Engine and Ladder 1 has significant rust and hydraulic issues. Due to Ladder 1’s old fashioned outdoor canopy style seating the truck is now limited to only transporting two personnel members to an emergency.
Over the past three years the Department Vehicle Replacement Committee explored several ways to replace both trucks; including purchasing new and used trucks. If the Town were to purchase a new Ladder and Engine it would cost approximately 1.2 million dollars and involve an override. At the end of the day the committee determined a Quint would be the best replacement.
A Quint Fire Truck serves as a dual purpose of an Engine and a Ladder and provides five functions; pump, water tank, fire hose, aerial device, and ground ladders .
At first the Committee looked at new Quints at a cost of $850,000 but felt this was more than the town could afford. After doing some research the Committee found a 2000 used Rural Quint with 35,000 miles for $365,000. The Chief pointed out this is a significant savings compared to purchasing two new trucks or one new Quint. The 2000 Rural Quint has a shorter wheel base than most Quints and has an excellent turning radius which would allow the department to get down smaller roads and driveways like they do with the Engine and Ladder in-house now. The Quint also has the ability to carry 700 gallons of water, 1,200 feet of hose, several ground and roof ladders, an aerial ladder, equipment, and carry more personnel.
Chief Goodale explained presently the Ladder truck is the 3rd to arrive on scene with only 2 members and often times there is no place to park on roads like Mechanic Street once mutual aid arrives. The Quint can staff 3 to 6 and will run first or second, will lay hose, pump and carry water and has an aerial ladder. According to Chief Goodale a Quint would allow the Department the flexibility to respond to many types of incidents with more staffing, tools, and equipment when timing is critical.
Retired Upton Fire Chief Michael Bradford weighed in on the issue in the March 21, 2014 issue of the Town Crier saying the proposal by Chief Goodale to replace a Pumper and Ladder with a Quint “would be detrimental to the town in the area of fire protection” and Bradford would “oppose such a purchase.” The Vehicle Replacement Committee feels information provided by Bradford in the Town Crier was misleading and wish to provide correct information to the Town; an information night has been scheduled for May 6.
Chief Goodale is confident the Vehicle Replacement Committee and the Fire Department followed a careful process in an effort to recommend the best apparatus and the best services while keeping cost in mind. Chief Goodale encourages anyone who has questions or concerns to attend the informational night at the Fire Station on Tuesday May 6th at 7:00 p.m. in the Training Room on the second floor.