Dan­bury to re­build two firetrucks for price of one

The News-Times (Sunday) - - News - By Zach Mur­dock zach.mur­dock @hearst­medi­act.com

DAN­BURY — Two Dan­bury firetrucks will be re­built from the ground up for less than the price of one new truck un­der a plan for up­grades to the fleet ap­proved last week.

The pair of 2008 pumper trucks — the stereo­typ­i­cal red trucks that re­spond to most fires but do not have lad­ders — will cost $600,000 to com­pletely re­build, in­stead of the roughly $750,000 per truck the depart­ment would have to pay to buy new, Fire Chief T.J. Wiedl said.

“It’s re­ally a huge sav­ings for the city and, these days, I have to be cost ef­fec­tive,” Wiedl said. “We were re­ally on the cut­ting edge when we did this with our lad­der truck a few years ago, but now just about ev­ery­one is opt­ing for this route be­cause it’s such a sub­stan­tial sav­ings.”

The trucks will be re­built from the chas­sis up — one will even have its chas­sis re­built — and re­turned as ba­si­cally new ve­hi­cles by na­tional firetruck firm Pierce Man­u­fac­tur­ing, Wiedl said.

Although they’re 10 years old, the up­grades will make the pair the new pri­mary ve­hi­cles in the depart­ment’s fleet of six pumper trucks and two lad­der trucks.

“They’re our work­horses,” Wiedl said.

Pierce Man­u­fac­tur­ing re­built one of the de­part- ment’s lad­der trucks sev­eral years ago and it’s still one of the depart­ment’s main ve­hi­cles, even though it’s al­most 20 years old now. Wiedl in­vited the Pierce team this year to eval­u­ate the two pumper trucks and they de­ter­mined they could not just be sal­vaged, but brought back to nearly new at a frac­tion of the cost of an ac­tual new truck.

The re­built trucks are sup­posed to get an­other five or six years added to their life­span, but Wiedl is con­fi­dent they can get even more.

“That’s what I thought at first, but I be­lieve it’s go­ing to be longer; we may get eight or 10 years out of them,” he said. “They came back just like new so we haven’t seen any flaws or re­builds.”

The up­grades will be paid for from city re­serve funds and the sale of other re­tired fire equip­ment at the city sur­plus auc­tion, Fi­nance Di­rec­tor David St. Hi­laire said.

The depart­ment’s other four pumper trucks, a pair from 2012 and an­other from 2016, likely also will wind up in the same cy­cle sev­eral years from now, Wiedl said.

“The chief has done a re­ally good job with this,” Mayor Mark Boughton said. “That’s a huge sav­ings for tax­pay­ers from the $1.4 mil­lion or $1.6 mil­lion or what­ever it would cost for two fully new trucks. That goes a long way.”

Carol Kaliff / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia file photo

Fire­fight Eric Fre­undt, left, and Lt. Tom Cor­bett, towel dry a firetruck after it’s daily wash at the En­gine 24 fire house on Ea­gle Road in Dan­bury on April 5, 2017.

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