$1.3M bond OK'd for fire vehicles; School will get improved fire alarms.


Byline: George Barnes

GARDNER - The Fire Department ideally could use a few more men, but as far as trucks and equipment are concerned, it will soon be in good shape.

The City Council voted Monday night to appropriate $1.3 million from a bond issue to buy a new ladder/pumper truck and a rescue pumper truck. The bond will also buy a bucket truck and a brush cutter for the Municipal Grounds Department and upgrade the Gardner High School fire alarm system.

"By buying these trucks, for the next seven to nine years, the city won't have to worry about buying new fire equipment," Fire Chief Ronald Therrien said yesterday afternoon.

The purchase will allow the department to place its oldest engine on reserve status and refurbish another engine. The ladder/pumper truck will cost about $625,000 and the rescue pumper, $325,000.

Chief Therrien said the two new trucks will replace three vehicles. The ladder-pumper combination gives the department added flexibility, depending on the type of fire it is fighting.

"It's the most cost-efficient way we can run," he said.

Chief Therrien said the cost of the vehicles has gone up significantly since the city began looking into new trucks about five years ago.

"When we first started looking, they cost $600,000 combined," he said. "Now they are $950,000."

Part of the increase was caused by new EPA emission standards that went into effect Jan. 1. Chief Therrien said the new standards resulted in an increase of between $25,000 and $35,000 per truck. He said the fire services industry tried to get fire apparatus exempted from the standards, but to no avail.

At the City Council meeting, Councilor Joshua Cormier, a member of the Public Safety Committee, said the trucks being replaced are...

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