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City fire chief pushes for $600K truck | News, Sports, Jobs

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WARREN — Fire Chief Ken Nussle is hoping to persuade the city council to approve a $600,000 purchase of a new fire rescue engine to replace a 30-year-old firetruck stationed at the Parkman Road station.

“The truck we’re looking to replace is one of two firetrucks purchased in 1992,” Nussle said. “Right now, it is at Detroit Engine getting repaired. The cost of maintaining the truck is high, and it is becoming increasingly unreliable.

“It is at a point that the city is spending good money after bad,” he said.

Discussion about purchasing a new truck will take place during city council’s police and fire committee meeting, scheduled at 4 pm today, in council chambers, 141 South St.

The 1992 Emergency One Engine at Station 6, Atlantic Street, was purchased from the plant in Ocala, Fla. at a price of $205,548.

Over the last two years, the department has spent $28,750 in maintenance and repair, according to Nussle.

“The parts are also becoming harder to obtain because of the age of the apparatus.” he said.

The truck the city is looking to replace has approximately 160,000 miles on it. Nussle emphasized that does not include idling time, where the truck is sitting with the engine on while at a fire.

While the department is only looking to replace one fire truck at this time, Nussle admits it likely will begin looking at replacing the second aerial ladder truck purchased in the same year.

“Firetrucks typically last about 20 years, depending on their use,” Nussle said. “Our use is moderate, so we managed to get an additional 10 years out of these vehicles.”

The department is looking to purchase the emergency rescue vehicle from Dublin, Ohio-based Sutphen Corp., which custom makes firetrucks.

“This rescue truck will have all of the rescue equipment we need, including extracting equipment, rams, cutters and other rescue equipment. All of the equipment will be purchased with the new truck.”

Once the city signs the contract to purchase the vehicle it will take 12 to 14 months for the company to build it, so it will have to maintain the current vehicle until the new one is built.

Councilman Alford Novak, D-2nd Ward, chair of the police and fire committee, said he would like to see if part of the purchase of the new vehicle can be paid for using pandemic relief funds.

“At this time, we do not know of other available grants,” Nussle said. “There is never a good time to purchase a firetruck. They are costly. Six hundred thousand dollars is an average amount for a rescue engine.”

Nussle said the department has five firetrucks. It has three at the main fire station and one at each neighborhood station on Parkman Road and Atlantic Street.

“We cannot do without a truck,” Nussle said. “If this truck is not replaced, then the Parkman Road station will not have a truck. The people living in the neighborhoods serviced by the Parkman Road station deserve the coverage.”

The department has 57 firefighters, plus Nussle. It is in the process of looking at its civil service list, so the department can hire three additional firefighters to bring the department back up to 60.

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