Caledonia Fire District seeks voter approval to buy truck
The Caledonia Fire District plans to present the facts to the voters about the proposed purchase of a Quint fire truck at a public hearing on Oct. 9.
The meeting will take place at the Caledonia Town Hall, 3109 Main Street, from 6 to 9 p.m. Voting will take place on Oct. 23 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the fire hall, 3095 Main Street.
Chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners, James Dutton, says the district has an established vehicle replacement plan which retires and purchases one piece of equipment every five years. This purchase fits into the plan.
The Quint will cost the Caledonia Fire District $750,000, and will be paid for entirely by the money that is already set aside in two reserve accounts. The district will not need to bond any of the purchase price for the vehicle, Dutton said.
There will be no increase to the fire tax; the rate 2013 rate will $1.22 per thousand of assessed property value.
The district is asking for voter approval to expend the funds from reserve accounts for the purchase of the Quint firtruck.
After researching what type of firetruck would be the best to purchase as a replacement for 1996 pumper truck, a Quint firetruck was chosen as the apparatus of choice, said Caledonia Fire Chief Chris Beach.
“We feel this will be the best for several reasons. It carries all of the necessary pieces of firefighting equipment on one apparatus, it will improve firefighter and public safety,” Beach said.
A Quint firetruck has many different functions but it’s most known for its aerial ladder equipment, which provides for a more efficient and expanded level of firefighting with less manpower.
Dutton says, “A Quint helps firefighters ventilate a burning structure to make it safer for interior operations.” It would be the first vehicle to roll on all structure type fires, he added.
Beach and Dutton plan to explain at the public hearing, the advantage of using a Quint fire truck in battling structure fires. Ventilating a burning structure is necessary to cool the conditions inside for both the victims and the firefighters.
Presently, firefighters use roof and ground ladders to accomplish this.
The aerial ladder would make it safer for firefighters to ventilate a structure fire, in some cases accomplishing this without having to step foot on the roof, but if they do, the aerial ladder can swing and remove a firefighter out of harm.
It would also make it possible to get a large stream of water on a fire with just one operator. The ladder would also be useful to evacuate the occupants of a burning building.
The district plans to sell or trade in, the retiring 1996 pumper truck, which ever options gives the best return, Dutton said, adding that he expects the truck to be worth about $50,000. The pumper was donated to the village so whatever return it brings in is profit to the district.
The Quint firetruck is approximately 37 feet long and 11 feet 9 inches high.
The truck fits inside the present fire hall, which is a topic of debate among some of the members of the fire department. There are some members who oppose the purchase of the Quint fire truck, instead favoring the idea of building a new fire hall, Beach said.
That idea has been investigated but turned down in favor of replacing the department’s aging equipment.
“You can’t fight fires with a new fire hall,” Dutton commented.