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Council faces deadline on purchasing new fire engines

August 27, 2003|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Chambersburg Borough Council will decide in two weeks whether to buy one or two new fire engines to replace two units purchased in the 1970s.

Borough Manager Eric Oyer said the lowest bids on the trucks were from Pierce Manufacturing for approximately $350,000 each, with a discount of about $5,000 if the council decides to buy two. The price could vary depending on options, including $10,000 for independent suspension and $5,400 for airbags to protect the crew in case of a rollover.

Oyer said the council has to take action on the bids by the Tuesday, Sept. 9, meeting if it is to get one or both of the trucks at the quoted prices. If the borough gets two, one would be delivered in 2004, the other in 2005, he said.

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Those vehicles would replace two engines bought more than 25 years ago that Emergency Services Chief William Dubbs said are virtually worthless. The two engines would bring only about $2,500 if sold, according to Dubbs. Another old engine, refurbished in 1996, is worth about $27,000, he said.

One of the engines has been out of service for more than a month and finding replacement parts is difficult, he said. The cost of repairing the engine would be about twice what it is worth, he said.

The newest engine in the fleet was purchased in 1996, according to Oyer. The vehicles have a practical lifetime of about 25 years he said.

"The older equipment we have has to go," Oyer said.

The fire department has a ladder truck, three first-line engines and a reserve engine, according to Oyer. He said the council also will have to decide whether it is worth the expense of maintaining a reserve engine in the future.

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