An 18-year-old fire truck is on its last leg in Oberlin and the anticipated replacement cost is near $700,000.
Most of the cost will be budgeted in the income tax capital improvement fund, which pays for street improvements, paving and maintenance, fire and police vehicles and safety equipment, and parks and cemetery improvements, said finance director Sal Talarico.
The new truck could be paid for through a renewal of the municipal income tax levy, which generates $600,000 annually.
Fire chief Bob Hanmer said 18-year-old engine 41 is nearing the end of its usable service life. Most last around 20 years.
The smartest option is to ditch the aging engine for a new replacement instead of replacing broken parts, he said.
“We’re looking at close to $50,000 to put on this truck that’s only going to be here for a year and a half,” said Hanmer.
The engine’s generator is a bust, which powers major components such as the light tower and electrical lines for nighttime visibility, and extrication tools. The foam tank, which helps with fire suppression, is leaking, causing corrosion throughout the pump. Hanmer is worried this is going to cause a failure.
This particular truck carries Class A foam, which can be used to saturate materials inside a structure to keep those materials from reigniting. Class B foam is used to fight car, aircraft, and other fires where flammable liquids might be present.
Hanmer said if the truck is not replaced, it will be out of service for six months for repair. He expects increased maintenance costs to continue.
The manufacturer, American LaFrance, is now out of business. Finding replacement parts or another vendor to take liability is next to impossible, he said.
“We rely on mutual aid and it would really hurt us if we were unable to provide aid to other communities. We rely on them just as much as they rely on us,” the chief said. “It’s still usable as far as pumping water, but we have to keep out fingers crossed that it’s going to get the job done.”
Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 @HamameNews on Twitter.