Vernon (VT) Invests in Fire Rescue Equipment

More than six months after voters allocated more than $350,000 for vehicle purchases, Vernon Fire Department is putting that money into action.

Firefighters took delivery of a new rescue truck, and they expect to recommend a new engine to Selectboard members next month.

Fire Chief Todd Capen said both are expected to be long-term assets for the department.

With the new rescue truck, “it might not be something we have to replace for 20 years or something like that,” Capen said.

The fire department has two engines, a tanker, a rescue truck and a brush truck. And Capen said there is a need for an upgrade.

“The rescue truck (replacement) is due to the mechanical issues that we’ve had with it over the last four or five years. It’s a 1995 (model), and we’ve put a lot of money into it,” Capen said. “We were discussing, is it a benefit to the town to keep putting money into it?”

As for the engine, the department is looking to replace a 1985 model that has seen better days.

With Vernon cutting costs due to the pending closure of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, voters were in a cost-cutting mood at Town Meeting in March. That included a decision — later affirmed in a reconsideration vote — to shut the town’s police department in favor of a contract with Windham County Sheriff’s Department.

But voters approved $298,000 for the fire department’s engine replacement. Officials have said $200,344 will come from Vernon’s capital fund, while the remainder is funded by tax revenue.

Also approved was a total of $59,000 for a new rescue truck, with $43,575 coming from the capital plan.

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