The Waverly Barton Fire District is set to put two fire trucks into service next month after spending nearly half a million dollars getting them up to spec. One is a $90,000 re-fabrication for a currently owned pumper and the other is a used ladder truck that cost roughly $400,000.
“(The new vehicles) can have a huge impact on helping to reduce property damage and controlling a situation much sooner, and of course we can still knock down fires. We’ll still rely on mutual aid just like they rely on us, but this will greatly enhance our initial response,” said Dave Cole, chairperson of the board of fire commissioners for the Waverly Barton Fire District.
The ladder truck, which is a 2006 E-One, has a 75-ft ladder that Cole says will greatly expand the districts capability over the 35 ft. ladder truck currently uses.
“A 35 foot ladder in many cases just barely allows us to reach the roof of a two story building. With the big Victorian houses, which we have a lot of, along with commercial properties we didn’t have anything with the capability to get high enough so we had to rely on our mutual aid departments. The new ladder truck gives us the capability on initial response for rescue or ventilation, fire containment and fire suppression,” said Cole.
Currently the department is customizing the truck, mounting equipment and testing it out on the road.
The pumper, which is 20 years old, is still in the process of being re-fabricated.
“They want to bring it up to technological standards. For instance all the lighting was upgraded to LED lighting, new valves were put in and other enhancements that the firefighters want,” Cole said.
He added that both trucks are expected to enter into service in three to four weeks.
Cole was adamant that despite spending nearly half a million dollars, the district’s budget wasn’t impacted and taxes are not being increased.
He stated, “We have a apparatus reserve fund and an equipment reserve fund, and with the money in the reserve funds, which neither are now depleted, we were able to do the refurb and purchase the ladder truck and equipment and it did not effect fire district budget at all.”
Cole, who continues to serve as a firefighter after 45 years, said that the district is not scheduled to have to purchase a new vehicle for at least 10 years and in that period of time reserve fund accounts will have recovered enough to handle that purchase.
Even when going through the process of how to enhance the District’s fleet, which will be at five once the two enter into service, Cole said the goal was to be frugal.
“That pumper in today’s dollars to replace would have been 600,000. A ladder truck like that in today’s dollars is probably a million dollars if you bought it new. So doing the math (with the two trucks costing) under $500,000 we spent less than if we had just bought a brand new pumper to replace the truck,” Cole said.
Along with the two trucks about to go into service Cole said the department is always interested in adding more manpower.
“We are a volunteer department and we have a good strong membership, but we always need more people because things can change quickly.”
Cole added that anyone interested should call the district at (607) 565-4651.