Older Onset (MA) Fire Apparatus a Concern to Fire Department

For three consecutive years, the state inspector has noted tha’Ladder 1,’ an open-air, 1972 Maxim Aerial Ladder truck currently being used by the department, is deteriorating. Onset Fire Chief Ray Goodwin is not only worried the truck will soon be rendered “out of service,” but that the ladder will give way during a fire.

Not only is the ladder corroding from the inside out, but the condition of the truck in general is worsening, and Goodwin and his crew at the department are hoping voters will approve an article at the Onset Fire District’s Annual Meeting on May 19 that would allow the district to authorize a bond for $760,000 to replace it.

“After discussion within the Fire Department, the Board of Engineers, and the Prudential Committee, who also agreed that the equipment needed to be replaced, we decided to put the article in,” said Goodwin on Monday afternoon, who noted that they had unsuccessfully attempted to obtain federal grant to replace the truck. “The well ran dry before it got to us. At this point it’s not looking promising for us to get grant money.”

Goodwin said the truck, which was originally purchased for $57,295 and is the last of the original vehicles remaining with the department from when he started in Onset in his teenage years, is getting too old to be relied on so heavily.

“She’s starting to show her age,” said Goodwin of the 43-year-old truck, adding that typically, ladder trucks have a life expectancy of around 25-30 years, with Ladder 1 being anywhere from 13-18 years beyond its expected service. “It’s a big hit, but it’s a needed piece of equipment.”

If approved, Goodwin said the truck would be housed at the Water Department at 15 Sand Pond Road because it wouldn’t fit inside the station on Central Avenue. He said that comparatively, the $760,000 is fairly cheap compared to the over $1 million price tag on the majority of other ladder trucks on the market, and that after consulting with officials in Onset, now was a good time to buy because of the low interest rates that are available.

“Financially, this is a good time to buy,” he said.

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