According to a report from The Piscataquis Observer, a special town meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, February 3, to vote on a $1.4 million U.S. Department of Agriculture loan meant to immediately replace the Dover-Foxcroft (ME) Fire Department’s (DFFD’s) 1993 ladder truck; begin the process to replace its 1999 pumper truck with a new, custom model; and purchase replacement air packs.
The ladder truck, which the department has had since 2015, blew its motor in early December. Because of the vehicle’s age, a replacement has been difficult to find, and even more difficult to find one with an extended warranty. Brand new ladder trucks cost more than $1 million.
The 1993 ladder truck had been the only such vehicle in the region, needed to reach the top of the tallest buildings in town such as The Mill apartments, Foxcroft Academy dorm, Northern Light Mayo Regional Hospital roof, county courthouse, and Piscataquis County Ice Arena.
DFFD Chief Joe Guyotte said the ladder truck has experienced problems over the previous five years, with money needed for parts and repair labor. He said a replacement motor is not available with any guarantees, and new motors will not work on the 28-year-old model.
Guyotte, Assistant Chief Jerry Rollins, and Firefighter Timothy Perkins traveled to northeastern Alabama to inspect the ladder truck in person. He said that the one they saw is expected to last the town for more than 35 years.
Negotiations on the truck settled at a price of $590,000 on the 2012 ladder truck, with the DFFD’s current truck included in the transaction at a price of $40,000, to be transported south.
The truck is now on hold, pending the outcome of Feb. 3. Should the warrant article pass, a 10 percent deposit will be paid to Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus and an agreement signed.
According to DFFD Lieutenant Brian Gaudet, it will cost $128,000 to replace their air packs. He said the DFFD has applied several times for Federal Emergency Management Agency funding, but the applications have not as of yet been accepted. He also said that the packs are now 29 years old and not as safety compliant as current models.
The DFFD purchased the 1999 pumper new before the turn of the century.