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$479,233 for new Auburn fire engine gets OK from Council

Allows department to phase out aging equipment
By: Jon Schultz, Journal Staff Writer
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The Auburn City Council authorized the purchase of a new fire engine for nearly a half-million dollars, allowing the department to further phase out a pair of 25-year-old Type 1 engines that are beyond their shelf life. The Council voted 5-0 Monday to approve the $479,233.52 engine, which will become the workhorse of the fleet as its first-run equipment when it arrives next summer. Out of nine proposals received, the department selected the second-least expensive of a field ranging from $393,237 to $644,580. “I’m excited to see that this is part of our future. I know that our fire department had been working with some apparatus that’s a little bit dated and old,” Councilwoman Bridget Powers said. “They’ve worked really hard to find extra funds during the tough economic times to help continue to keep the fire department operating to the standards they have set for the community.” A new Type 1 engine had been scheduled for purchase in 2007, but Fire Chief Mark D’Ambrogi said the rough economic climate delayed it from going in front of the Council until recently. “It was really evident that we didn’t have enough funding then, nor did it look like we could sustain a lease purchase,” he said. “So we kind of had to get out of that rough time a little bit first.” Type 1 engines, the largest of the fleet, have a 20-year lifespan and currently the department has two Type 1 sister engines that are 25 years old along with its youngest Type 1 – a replacement that came in 2005, D’Ambrogi said. The new engine is essentially the same as those currently used, just a newer model, and will allow the department to use the 7-year-old truck as a second-run, eliminate one of the 25-year-old engines and use its counterpart as a reserve, he said. “We’re wearing out our equipment because it’s getting used quite a bit,” D’Ambrogi said. “That’s really the main thing is to keep our fleet active and maintained, we need to go forward with this purchase.” The eliminated engine would likely go to auction, D’Ambrogi said. “I don’t know if there’s much value to it as a fire apparatus just because of the maintenance and replacement parts component, but we’ll try our best to surplus it as a piece of fire equipment,” he said. The new equipment is scheduled to arrive in June or July of 2013. The fleet will then consist of three Type 1 engines, two Type 3 engines, one ladder truck, one rescue, one water tender, a command vehicle and two utility vehicles, D’Ambrogi said. That gives the city one more Type 1 than what he said was the ideal amount. When an engine gets beyond its 20-year lifespan, maintenance problems increase and replacement parts become “extinct,” D’Ambrogi said. “There’s times when we can’t find parts to replace things, and they do wear out,” he said. The engine will be built by Wisconsin-based Pierce Manufacturing Inc., which also produced the department’s last replacement engine as well as its 26-year-old ladder truck. Jon Schultz can be reached at jons@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jon_AJNews