EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

November 30, 2013

Mayor: Worst of old fire trucks to be replaced

He wants new rules banning truck use for running errands

HAVERHILL — Mayor James Fiorentini said he will replace the Fire Department’s oldest pumper truck by summer.

The decision follows concerns raised by the firefighter’s union that all eight of the department’s pumper trucks are old and unreliable, and a subsequent review of the oldest truck by a private consultant.

Fiorentini said he received a report from the consultant last week that says the truck is operable, but needs to be repaired or replaced.

The mayor said it would be a poor use of taxpayers’ money to repair the vehicle, so he will ask City Council for approval to borrow money for a new one.

As soon as the city takes delivery of a new pumper truck, the old one will be taken out of service, the mayor said. A new pumper truck costs between $400,000 and $450,000, he said.

Fiorentini said he also wants the fire chief to consider stricter rules prohibiting fire trucks from being used by firefighters to run errands such as food shopping. The current policy, the mayor said, is that each pumper truck can be used to run personal errands no more than once per day.

Fiorentini noted that he implemented a separate policy prohibiting the department’s new $1 million ladder truck from being used at all for errands unless it is on the way home from an emergency call.

“These policies are necessary in order to preserve the life of these very expensive vehicles,” Fiorentini said. “As part of purchasing (a new pumper truck), I intend to ask the chief if there are further restrictions or amendments to the policy which should be enacted.”

The outside review of the oldest pumper truck was in response to emails sent to the mayor and city councilors last month by the firefighters union. The emails said all eight of the department’s pumper trucks are “unreliable due to age and every day wear-and-tear.”

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