The Press Newspaper
Jerusalem Township got its brand new $333,000 Pierce fire truck — the culmination of years of research by Chief Harold L. “Larry” Stanton.
“The truck isn’t something that just popped up. It was something that was brought to the attention of the trustees by the fire department, and then, of course, one step led to another,” said Trustee Joe Kiss.
It joins a fleet that includes a 1975 Sutphen Ford Classic, a 1992 and 1997 Horton Squad EMS vehicles, 1998 and 1993 Pierce Lance pumpers, a 2002 Ford Excursion command vehicle, and a dive/water rescue trailer, according to the township website.
The new truck is paid for entirely with township money, funded by a fire levy approved by voters.
“The fire department over the years has been very diligent on planning and keeping monies where they need to be put to make major purchases. I give a lot of credit to the fire department for the preparation of the money,” Kiss said.
The new truck replaces the 1975 Sutphen, which was refurbished in 1991, but Stanton says has long outlived its usefulness.
“The other one at about a 20-year age is the most you want to pull out of one,” Stanton said. “Then, your refurbishing may pick up another five — so we put that one way past where it should have been.
“This will allow us to take that truck out of service and replace it completely and dispose it. This will be first out to all structure fires. What will happen, the next truck in line, the 1998 Pierce, will get some work done to keep it in service for another three to four years while we work on funding to replace that. Then, we’ve got another truck, a pumper, and that will be replaced following that. So, it’s just a step-procedure to aggressively replace the apparatus.”
Trustee Ron Sheahan said, “Its new technology. It’s got water and foam that’s carried on it for extinguishing fires. It’s state of the art. It’s got an all stainless steel cab. It’s got a lot of apparatus on it that the previous truck didn’t, and the fire chief is in the process of fitting the remaining pieces of the fire truck out and putting additional equipment that will be carried on it. Everything is metered as to what’s going through the truck with regards to the foam. It’s a very nice piece of equipment.”
Stanton added, “This is pretty much the same as the rest of the trucks that will be on the floor now, except this will have Class A foam. For a long time we’ve been fighting fires the old way, with only water. I’ve done some research on it, I’ve done some training on it, and it appears that is going to save us a lot of water because we don’t have hydrants. We’ve had to truck in all that water when we need it, and it makes a huge difference if we can actually get out there and have a rapid (result).”
Stanton, who has been chief since March 15, 2008 and oversees 28 firefighters, said new equipment is to be added to the truck that will cost an additional $9,000.
The new truck is American-made by Pierce Manfacturing, which is based in Wisconsin and Florida. It was built in two separate locations and then brought together for assembly, Kiss said.
Stanton said the bid process was not an easy one.
“This is the first truck that I ever had to research pretty much alone with. I had to work it all out. Then, when you write the bid package originally, if you make a mistake, then the other salesmen from the other companies see that and they go nuts. If you’re leaning towards this company or that company, you let them know I’m just getting the best truck for what I need.
“This was not the cheapest bid,” Stanton continued. “We had a cheaper bid that was a demonstrator, but didn’t have what we wanted. That company had a chance to bid for this truck, but the spec called for this kind of design, and they didn’t follow the spec. They had a truck they wanted to show off to us, so I said, ‘I’m sorry.’ So I wrote the ending opinion on it and the trustees agreed with me — you can’t buy that, you’ve got to order this.
“This takes a year and it cost a lot more money. In the end, it’s going to last 20 years. We know that we’ve had trouble free service for the last two (Pierce trucks), and this is the top builder in the company and probably in the world. They are owned by Oshkosh and have their own financial arm. The day we ordered it we saved $29,000 just from the aspect of, ‘Oh, you are ordering it through us and financing it through us.’ Their finance rate was even so much cheaper than our own bank — which couldn’t help us out that much, so it was great for us.”
The fire truck is not the only apparatus that will be new to Jerusalem’s fleet.
“Another cool thing is we just picked up another apparatus from the City of Toledo for $1,” Kiss said. “We got a brush fire truck that’s a nice addition to our fleet. It was something that they didn’t use. Sometimes when things get dry, fields catch on fire and those big pumpers are hard to get out on those fields. That was well researched by our chief and personnel.”
Trustee David Bench said the brush truck is a four-wheel drive pick-up truck that can get around in tight spaces. Although trustees say it cost the township $1, Stanton calls it virtually a “donation.”
“It was an inside project where one chief said, ‘Hey, you want this? I said, ‘Yeah, I want it,’ so he said let’s get it out of here,” Chief Stanton said.
“That will be great for wildland fires. This donation is going to help us a lot. We’re just working on the title work on that and it will get to us eventually. We don’t need the truck right now, and we’ve got some work to do with it. We’ll clean up the decals and all that stuff, so we’ll get it in service by spring, which is when we’ll need it again. That will be great for us for that application.”