Chief James Larsen wants to trade in a firetruck.
The chief told the Public Safety Committee on Thursday that Engine 2, a 2014 Pierce Velocity pumper, was larger than the department wanted or needed, but the city might be able to trade it for a truck better-suited to Rutland at no cost. The committee voted unanimously to recommend that the full Board of Aldermen authorize the chief to begin the process with Adirondack EVG and Ferrara Fire Apparatus, with a requirement that he come back to the board for final approval of any deal.
Larsen and several other firefighters came to the meeting after responding to a fire in West Rutland, and displayed Engine 2 alongside the smaller, newer Engine 4 in the parking lot behind City Hall.
“If you look at the right rear tires, you’re going to see all sorts of scuff marks because it’s impossible not to hit curbs with this thing,” he said.
Larsen said the truck could not make it down Killington Avenue alongside oncoming traffic. Firefighter Mike Roy said the truck was impractical during the Baxter Street fire — its configuration required firefighters to hop up and down on the vehicle repeatedly.
“It’s a worker’s comp claim waiting to happen,” Board President Sharon Davis said.
Larsen also noted that the firefighter’s union objected to the size and configuration of the truck before it was purchased.
In the course of designing the city’s new ladder truck, Larsen said representatives of Adirondack, the broker, said they could probably sell Engine 2 for enough money that purchase of a smaller truck would be a “net-zero” deal. This claim drew skepticism from some of the board members. Alderwoman Melinda Humphrey noted that the city had seen a run of bad luck with bids coming in higher than expected. Larsen said the city would not sign anything unless Adirondack got a sale price that covered the new truck and that the city did not intend to spend “one dollar” on the deal.
The chief also noted that if the deal works out, it would benefit the equipment replacement fund by putting off the purchase of a replacement truck by six years.
“What else do we have that’s too fancy that we can trade in,” Humphrey wondered after the vote.
“That’s a conversation for another meeting,” Mayor David Allaire replied.