Emergency Declaration Enables Lake George (NY) Fire Apparatus Purchase

The town and village of Lake George have taken the step of buying both a new fire truck and a new rescue truck, after failing equipment spurred officials to declare an emergency.

Fire Chief Jason Carmody didn’t mince words in describing the condition of the department’s “first-out pumper,” during a May 2 Village Board meeting.

“It’s junk,” he said, before explaining the 2003 American LaFrance pumper was in dire need of repairs that couldn’t be made.

American LaFrance went out of business in January, so the company with which the village contracts to maintain its firetrucks can’t get the parts needed for repairs, Carmody said.

The news prompted the village to investigate further, resulting in a May 20 joint meeting of the village and town boards. The town contracts with the village for fire and emergency services, with the town paying about 75 percent of the department’s operating costs.

At the May 20 meeting, repairs needed for the first-out pumper were detailed, and a presentation was given to explain the options available.

The village had about $450,000 in a reserve fund for emergency service equipment purchases. It had been setting aside $40,000 per year in anticipation of needing to replace the 22-year-old heavy rescue truck, said Mayor Robert Blais.

At the May 20 meeting, village and town officials agreed to declare an emergency, allowing them to expedite the firetruck purchase. They also agreed to start the bidding process to purchase a new heavy rescue truck.

“It’s unusual for a community to buy two new trucks at once, but that’s the situation we were in,” Blais said.

The first-out pumper truck is the only vehicle that can be relied on to get to certain properties in the town and village, especially during the summer tourism season when roads become narrow due to an increase in parked vehicles, Blais said.

The pumper is also equipped with a large tank and a range of hoses designed to quickly attack structure fires, including on private or dirt roads where hydrants aren’t available and heavier trucks might get stuck.

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