Nearly all of the 60-plus Dresden residents at a special town meeting Monday, Dec. 10 voted to approve the purchase of a 1994 ladder truck and the trade-in of a 1985 fire engine.
The 24-year-old ladder truck will become one of the Dresden Fire Department’s newest trucks, Fire Chief Steve Lilly said.
The warrant for the special town meeting contained five articles. Article 2, to buy the ladder truck, generated the most questions.
Besides the election of a moderator, the other articles were to trade in Engine 5, use $3,000 from the fire department’s budget for the purchase, and accept a $2,000 donation from the Dresden Fire Association for the purchase.
The purchase price of the truck is $11,000. The trade-in will cover $6,000.
Resident Dave Probert served as moderator. Lilly fielded questions from residents.
Resident Rick Graffam asked why the town needs a ladder truck, a question that previously came up during a public hearing Nov. 26.
The department would use the truck for structure fires and chimney fires, Lilly said. Dresden had two structure fires this year, he added.
Currently, firefighters must stand on a roof to put out a chimney fire. He said the roof is the first part of the house to go during a structure fire.
The ladder truck, originally owned by the Bar Harbor Fire Department, has a 500-gallon tank, a 1,250-gallon-per-minute pump, and a 75-foot aerial ladder.
Lilly said the truck is a “quint,” which means it has an aerial ladder, tank, pump, ground ladders, and hose. He said the truck is about 36 feet long and about 16-18 feet wide.
Lilly had said at the public hearing that Richmond has offered to split the $1,700 fee for the truck’s annual certification. Resident Misty Parker asked if the offer still applies.
Lilly said it does. However, Third Selectman Allan Moeller said he spoke with Richmond’s town manager, who said it would not come out of the town’s next budget.
A resident asked if the Dresden Fire Association could increase its donation to cover the certification for the first year. Probert said that was not possible because the amount of money in the article could not be changed.
Dresden firefighter Reid Anderson said the association already voted to donate $2,000.
Another resident wanted to know about the fire department’s future needs.
For over a year, the department has wanted to replace its almost 30-year-old tanker. In addition to its age, the truck has a standard transmission and only a few firefighters know how to drive it.
Moeller said the replacement truck would probably cost about $200,000. The town will probably buy the truck within the next few years.
“The selectmen are on board with it … so we have another expense coming up,” Moeller said.
Many grant opportunities could help offset the cost of the tanker, Anderson said.
Resident Joe Biden asked if the ladder truck is ready to use.
“I have evaluated it myself, and with the exception of doing training on it, it’s ready to be put in service,” Lilly said.
Training to use it will take a few days, he said.
The purchase and trade-in will go through Greenwood Emergency Vehicles LLC, of Brunswick.