Safety concerns prompt Middletown to spend nearly $1M to buy 2 fire trucks

Middletown City Council will consider emergency legislation for the purchase of two new fire trucks at its meeting today, April 3.

The request is to purchase two fire pumpers for $937,050.

As part of the 2018 budget, the city had planned to purchase one new pumper and refurbish a 2000 Sutphin mini-tower truck as well as retire a 1997 Luverne pumper from the fleet, according to Purchasing Agent Cindy Strayer.

However, when the mini-tower was taken for an evaluation, it was found that the 18-year-old unit had severe corrosion that could cause the frame to fail, particularly from the load stress of the aerial ladder, according to the report.

There were safety concerns that this could cause possible injuries to firefighters and residents, according to Strayer.

The report said it estimated a minimum cost of $150,000 to replace the frames with the probability of additional charges for other issues as the pumper was dismantled for repair due to its age.

Removing the Luverne pumper and the mini-tower from service leaves the city short two vehicles, Strayer. Officials said the 21-year-old Luverne pumper is long past the point for replacement and that repairs continue to mount and become more expensive. They said keeping this pumper is not fiscally responsible.

City officials said the new pumpers have a 12-month lead time for delivery.

This year, the Division of Fire had budgeted $719,500 to purchase one fire pumper, a rescue truck and a staff vehicle, however, the rescue truck and staff vehicle will not be purchased in 2018. Officials said the difference of $217,550 would be covered by unspent funds with the fire budget to the extent possible, but may need a supplemental appropriation at the end of the year if there is a budget shortfall.

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