The Ramsey Borough Council (N) is in favor of replacing three town fire trucks after a fire department presentation said the outdated trucks are a safety hazard to the volunteer squad.
The fire department would like to simultaneously replace two engine trucks currently in the department’s seven-vehicle fleet.
Engine 432 is 25 years old, has answered over 11,000 calls, and is rusting through, firefighters said. It was manufactured by Mack Trucks, which no longer makes fire trucks making replacement parts not available. The engine broke down in the middle of a fire call and is temporarily out of service. Firefighters said the vehicle is requiring more maintenance as it gets older.
Engine 434 is 28 years old, has answered over 10,000 calls, and has an open cab, meaning firefighters riding in the truck are exposed to the elements. Open cabs were disallowed from New Jersey fire trucks in 1991, though firefighters said there are many still in use throughout the state.
Over the past year, the fire department has been revising its proposal to the council in an attempt to reduce the cost of the purchases. The proposal estimated the two engines would cost about $535,000 each. That estimate shaved about $100,000 off the the previous proposal.
The department would like to purchase two identical engines, so they could be interchangeable between the the fire department’s two fire houses. Training and maintenance would be the same on both.
Originally, the fire department also proposed completely replacing Ladder truck 441. That Mack truck is 29 years old and has answered over 13,500 calls. Now, the fire department presented a revised plan to refurbish the truck, by taking the existing crane and lifting apparatus off the truck, and placing it on a new chassis. The refurbishing would cost about $800 — 850,000, as opposed to $1.5M for a completely new truck.
The council said it would like to work on a depreciation plan for the other trucks in the fleet, so they could be maintained or upgraded on a more regular basis, in an effort to avoid having to make a large capital expenditure to replace multiple trucks at one time.
For more information, view ramsey-nj.patch.com