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Firefighters seek funds for new ladder truck

December 09, 1999|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

Residents in the Long Meadow area can expect a visit from local firefighters working to raise money to replace an aging ladder truck for the Long Meadow Volunteer Fire Co.

The volunteers, who will carry identification badges, will ask for contributions of $35 or more for a photo fund drive, said Fire Chief Richard Roche. Those who donate money to the company will be eligible to receive a free 8-inch by 10-inch family portrait.

The photos will be taken at the fire station on a date to be determined and participants will be able to buy reprints, he said.

Roche said Long Meadow would like to raise more than $10,000 through the photo fund drive.

The company has saved more than $80,000 over the past four years and will use the money toward purchase of a fire engine for $500,000, he said.

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Roche said if the photo and other fund-raisers go as projected, Long Meadow will be able to order the truck around January and receive it in December 2000.

The truck will take the place of Long Meadow's ladder truck and a 1979 Ford pumper engine, both of which the company hopes to sell.

Long Meadow plans to pay $250,000 in cash for the truck and finance the remaining $250,000, he said.

Replacing the ladder truck is important because it is nearly 30 years old and it has become difficult to find replacement parts, he said.

"It's outlived its life expectancy" of 25 years, Roche said.

As ladder trucks age, they are subject to rust, and firefighters could be injured if the truck's 100-foot aerial ladder breaks, he said.

The company's ladder truck would need to be updated to meet new regulations, and this would cost Long Meadow upwards of $200,000, he said.

The Long Meadow Volunteer Fire Company covers a 14-square-mile area with 3,500 households. The company has logged more than 500 calls so far this year, 200 of which required use of the ladder truck, Roche said.

The fire company also will sell raffle tickets for a jetski, which was donated by Twigg Cycles, he said.

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