The city needs a new firetruck.
“Unfortunately, the tower ladder truck has reached the end of its useful life,” Mayor David Allaire told the Board of Aldermen Monday. “It’s grounded. It’s out of service.”
The board voted unanimously to have the Public Safety Committee begin discussions to buy a replacement.
Chief James Larsen said the truck, a 1986 model with a 102-foot tower ladder, underwent a service test last month.
“This was a major 5-year inspection,” he said. “There were catastrophic failures of not only the structure of the ladder but the functionality of the ladder.”
Larsen said the inspection officially rendered the 33-year-old truck unsafe and that the National Fire Protection Association’s standard is to retire such vehicles after 25 years.
Alderman Scott Tommola asked if the truck had undergone a 5-year inspection in 2014. Larsen replied that the city has used the same company for inspections since 1998, and they had not found any record of the truck ever having one of the inspections.
Larsen said there were back-up arrangements in place while the city shops for a new vehicle.
“We have a 75-foot ladder here in the city and West Rutland responds to us, mutual aid, with a 100-foot ladder,” he said. “Neither of those has a platform, which is a more stable surface to work from. The closest tower to us now is Ludlow, which is about an hour response.”
Larsen said while a 100-foot tower truck is more than the department needs for a typical house fire, it would become essential in a larger-scale incident.
“An average two-story, we can get with ground ladders,” he said. “But we have a large downtown, where it’s absolutely required — the hospital, Sheldon Towers and a number of commercial buildings.”
The city bought a new pumper truck last year, replacing one whose engine had burned out, at a cost of about $400,000.