West Athens (NY) Considers Replacing Fire Apparatus

The West Athens-Lime Street Fire District is looking to replace their 1995 pumper with a new model.

Both a public hearing and a vote are scheduled for later this month.

The proposal is part of a 20-year replacement plan the fire company has put into effect that seeks to replace aging vehicles before they begin costing too much in repairs.

The new vehicle, if approved by the voters, would replace a similar style fire truck, with just a few upgrades.

“We came up with an upgrade for the old truck,” Fire Chief John J. Farrell said. “We added some improvements – we moved equipment lower down on the truck so people could have better access to it, and we made ladders more accessible so firefighters aren’t injured.”

Another change in the new model they seek to purchase is that the cab seats six people rather than the three that can currently fit in the old truck. They’ve also added a foam system, which would be used in certain structure fires.

The current fire truck is a 1995 model, and while it hasn’t experienced significant breakdowns or repair issues yet, that’s the point of the 20-year replacement plan — to replace aging vehicles before they begin costing the department money.

“We have in reserve funds $210,000 for down payment for this truck,” Farrell said. “If we can be very conservative this year, we will be able to put more money into the fund so we can reduce the amount of the loan we will need.”

Vice Chairman Patrick Murphy pointed out that it takes a long time to build a fire truck – which is built to custom specifications – so that will give them even more time to set money aside for the purchase.

The new truck would be a 2015 custom pumper/tanker with a 1,250-gallon pump, and a 1,250-gallon tank. It is not a ladder truck. The vehicle would be manufactured by KME, which was the sole bidder for the project.

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