Liberty trustees allow fire department to purchase truck

By Samantha Phillips


Township trustees have approved the purchase of a new firetruck.

Trustees Arnie Clebone and Greg Cizmar voted yes during Thursday morning’s regular trustee meeting; Trustee Jodi Stoyak was unavailable for the meeting.

The Sutphen firetruck will cost about $485,000 and is expected to be ready for use in October.

Until then, the company will loan a truck for the fire department to use at no extra cost; it should arrive within the next couple weeks.

Raymond Capezzuto Jr. with Herb Fire, a sales company that represents Sutphen Fire Apparatus, said the township can choose the length of the truck’s financing, up to 10 years.

Capezzuto recommended $15,000 be set aside for maintenance per year. Unused funds could be saved to buy another truck or for repairs, he suggested.

When asked if any of the older trucks can be traded in to help pay for the new truck, Capezzuto said the current trucks wouldn’t sell for any money because of their conditions.

Gus Birch, Liberty fire chief, has been discussing the department’s need for a new truck with trustees for almost seven months.

The township fire department has three firetrucks, but the truck purchased in 1996 is out of service due to safety issues.

The newest firetruck, which was purchased in 2007, was struck by a car while firefighters were investigating a car accident, and had to be taken to a repair shop.

While being repaired, more major issues were discovered, so the truck will need more repairs.

The township has two fire stations, so the fire department had to borrow a truck from a neighboring community to keep both stations operating during the initial repairs.

The township has a third firetruck that was purchased in 1993 that is in “fairly good condition,” Birch said.

The fire chief thanked the trustees for approving the purchase.

“It was very much needed,” he said.

The typical lifespan of a truck is 15 to 25 years, Capezzuto explained. Ideally, communities will have newer trucks to use as the first trucks called out to a fire, and the older trucks will be used as backup or to answer other calls, he said.

“This should get us along until we figure out a system to replace our older trucks,” Birch said.

Trustees also approved a contract with Disaster Services, which has an office in Warren, to clean up the sewage and flooding damage that the Belmont Avenue fire station sustained after heavy rains last week. Township insurance is covering the cost of the cleanup.

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