WILMINGTON, MA — The Wilmington Fire Department has unexpectedly found itself one fire engine short.
After a recent inspection of “Squad One,” one of the Fire Department’s fire engine pumpers, the manufacturer recommended that the 2002 vehicle be taken off the road due to significant rot of the engine’s frame. Fire Chief Joe McMahon and Deputy Fire Chief Bill Cavanaugh subsequently decided to pull the vehicle from service.
“The vehicle served as a first response vehicle to all fires and to medical emergencies,” Town Manager Jeff Hull told Selectmen on Monday night. “In addition to providing approximately six minutes worth of water (750 gallons) for fire suppression while firefighters lay the line and connect to a hydrant, the vehicle has the capacity to carry the fire and medical equipment required when on seen.”
In the short-term, McMahon and Cavanaugh are looking at bringing in a “loaner.”
In the meantime, the town maintains another pumper (“E-4”), which has the same water capacity as Squad 1 and will now be used as the front line response vehicle. The town also has several smaller pumpers (with approximately three minutes of water), plus mutual aid support from surrounding communities.
“In the long-term, the options are either to refurbish the existing vehicle, purchase a new vehicle outright, or acquire a new vehicle through a lease purchase,” explained Hull. “We’re also looking at the prospect of a trade-in, which will presumably reduce the cost of any new fire apparatus.”
“This was not an expenditure we anticipated,” continued Hull. “The source of the funding we’d have at this point is the Finance Committee’s Reserve Fund, which is at $600,000. Typically, that fund is not tapped until the spring of each year when we close out accounts and there may be overages. I’m having a conversation with the Finance Committee about using that source.”
Hull expects recommendations from McMahon and Cavanaugh, relative to short-term and long-term solutions, “shortly.”
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