Dedham (MA) Fire Chief Hopes to Upgrade Fleet

Acting Dedham (MA) Fire Chief William Spillane will ask the Finance Committee to include a request for new apparatus in the November Town Meeting warrant.

He was hoping to ask Town Meeting in May to replace the fire department’s engine 4, a 1999 truck, but the Capital Expenditures Committee turned it down due to lack of funds.

“There wasn’t enough money to pay for it this year, and it was coming a year early than it was proposed,” Michael Podolski, a member of the Capital Expenditures Committee, said. “There’s a five-year plan for each department, and (engine 4) was on the 2014 plan.”

A new engine would cost about $425,000.

The fire department currently operates three engines on a daily basis. Engine 5, a 1994 truck, is in reserve status and is only used when other engines are not available.

According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommended standards issued in 1991, engines have a 15-year lifespan and should then be placed in reserve status, Spillane said.

“We’re taking something that’s 15 years old–yes, it should be replaced because it shouldn’t be in the frontline service anymore–and we’re putting it into reserve and we’re getting rid of the old reserve,” Spillane explained. “We can still get by with engine 4 right now, but it is up for replacement.”

Spillane also hopes to purchase a new ladder by next year. Ladder 2, which is in reserve status, no longer fits NFPA recommended standards.

Newer ladders can sustain more weight and they are capable of operating at a 360-degree angle. The 1989 truck, however, can only sustain one firefighter at the end of the ladder, depending on the angle, and its 140 foot-ladder is limited to a 45-degree angle, Spillane said.

Ladder 1, a 1993 frontline truck that is operated daily, supports two firemen on average, depending on the angle, and it can open to a 360-degree angle.

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