FRYEBURG, Maine — The Fire Department is seeking a new fire engine to replace a 33-year-old truck that’s in need of costly repairs. The hope is to have the new one in service by the end of the year.
Chief Andrew Dufresne said he’s trying to replace Engine 96, a 1986 Middlesex with a 1,250 gallon-per-minute water pump and a 1,000-gallon water tank.
The department also has two other pumper engines, both of which are 2003 model years, as well as other types of fire trucks.
In early October, problems with Engine 96’s pump became apparent due to worn bearings and the seals going, which means that it’s leaking and losing pressure.
“The fire pump in the truck is becoming unreliable,” said Dufrense.
The cost estimate to fix the fire pump, from W.D. Perkins Fire Pump Specialist in Merrimack is about $18,000. Six tires also have to be replaced, and Frechette Tire of Conway has given a quote of about $2,800.
Dufresne said on Thursday the selectmen gave him the go-ahead to start looking for a replacement.
“It’s 33 years old and it doesn’t have the value to repair it,” said Dufresne who provided information stating that the truck is worth less than $10,000.
Engine 96 can be replaced with existing capital funds of about $203,000 that have already been approved by the voters. Dufresne said he hopes to send less.
Dufresne is looking for a 10-year-old used engine with a minimum 1,250 gallon pump rate. He is using largest dealers/brokers in the country to find such a truck.
Detailing the truck and getting it ready for work would days, he said.
“Our goal is to have this in service by the first of the year if we can,” said Dufresne.
If the truck wasn’t replaced then there’s potential hat fire insurance rates would go up, he said. Information he provided the Sun says that the Insurance Services Office creates fire ratings for departments and surrounding towns. ISO recommends that fire trucks be retired after 25 years and now that the truck is 33 years old would disqualify the truck toward satisfying ISO requirements.
The ISO rating scale runs from 1 to 10, and low numbers are good. At present with four tankers, the Fryeburg Fire Department’s rating is 4.
The town should plan on having another truck replaced in five to seven years.