By JOY BROWN
Findlay Council’s Appropriations Committee on Tuesday authorized city administrators to seek bids for a new fire truck.
Fire Chief Tom Lonyo said a Fire Department committee that began meeting at the beginning of the year is recommending the city purchase a “demo” vehicle that has only been used by truck-building companies for display and viewing.
Service-Safety Director Paul Schmelzer said such a truck would save the city “in the neighborhood of $50,000 to $70,000 on what is usually a half-million-dollar piece of equipment.”
It would also save time. Having a fire truck built can take nearly a year, Schmelzer said.
City Council agreed to budget $700,000 from the capital improvements fund.
Schmelzer said some larger demo trucks, with features the department needs, have been identified, which could necessitate spending some or all of the money this year.
The new truck would serve as more of a rescue vehicle, and would replace a ladder truck and an engine truck within the current fleet, Lonyo said.
The Fire Department truck committee’s recommendation includes retiring Engine 5, which was built in 1984, thereby reducing the fleet by one truck to better accommodate the reduced staff and lessen repair expenses on older trucks.
The demo truck, with its pumping capability and ability to store extrication equipment, would be better equipped to handle high-speed accidents the department is anticipating once Interstate 75 is widened. The Trenton Avenue bridge replacement has already caused serious accidents that have tested the department’s equipment capabilities, Lonyo said.
After extensive committee discussions and polling all Fire Department members, fire Capt. Matt Cooper said consensus was reached on buying a demo truck, even though it would mean taking a ladder truck out of daily service.
“We have no use for that second ladder,” Cooper said.
Rather than appropriating any money yet, the Appropriations Committee simply authorized seeking bids. Administrators are expected to return to the council committee for money when bids are in hand.