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Archbold Fire Department Given Okay To Shop For Aerial Truck




The German Township Trustees gave the Archbold Fire Department permission to begin searching for a new aerial ladder truck at the Trustees’ Monday night, Nov. 12 meeting.

Township voters approved a half-mill replacement property tax levy for the fire department during the Nov. 6 general election. The levy is anticipated to generate about $126,000 a year.

The levy passed by a vote of 1,254 in favor to 239 opposed. In percentage terms, of persons who voted, about 84% were in favor, and roughly 16% were opposed.

“That shows the support the community gives us,” Andy Brodbeck, Archbold Fire Department chief, told the trustees. “This is a huge vote of confidence,” he said.

New Vs. Refurbished

Brodbeck told the trustees the department has two routes it can go. It can purchase a refurbished truck, or order a new one built from scratch.

For a refurbished truck, the manufacturer takes a used ladder, or tower, from an old truck, thoroughly inspects it, repairs it as necessary, and then mounts it on a new truck chassis.

The refurbished truck would have a new engine, transmission, axles, cab, fire pump, etc. Only the tower would be used.

A new truck is built from the ground up, with a new tower.

The advantage of a refurbished truck is it can be purchased for less money than a built-from-scratch new one. A disadvantage is the manufacturer must wait until a used aerial ladder truck becomes available before construction begins on the chassis.

During the summer months, a refurbished aerial truck was available at a cost of about $560,000. Brodbeck and the trustees estimated a refurbished truck, fully outfitted with equipment, could cost $700,000.

Brodbeck said he could only give ballpark prices, but a new aerial truck would not exceed $1 million.

The fire department gets most of its trucks from the Sutphen Corporation, in Amlin, Ohio.

A Columbus Connection

Brodbeck told the trustees the City of Columbus was selling one of its used aerial trucks, a 1994 model, that could be the beginning of a refurbished truck.

However, he said there are two big “ifs” in the proposition. First, Sutphen’s technicians must inspect the tower and determine if it’s worth saving.

Second, the corporation must make a bid on the truck, and win the bid.

Brodbeck said the manufacturer should know by the end of 2007 whether they will purchase the Columbus truck.

Another question in the new aerial truck debate is the role of the truck itself.

In the past, the aerial truck has basically been delegated for industrial fires. Brodbeck said several new homes in the village are two stories, with sharply-pitched roofs. Rather than using ladders to get firefighters up on steep roofs, Brodbeck suggested an aerial truck, with the right kind of platform, could be used.

It could hoist firefighters to the roof, where they could work from the platform to cut ventilation holes into an attic, or perform other tasks.

Getting the right platform could add $60,000 to $80,000 to the cost of the truck, which puts it within the range of a new truck.

Randy Ruffer, president of the trustees, said he was in favor of sending the aerial truck to residential fires, pointing out that if homeowners were paying for an aerial truck, it should respond to residential fires.

Available Funding

Brodbeck and the trustees discussed available funding and timelines.

Currently, there’s about $440,000 available for a new aerial truck. Adding money generated by the replaced property tax levy, plus cash set aside from the township general fund, it’s anticipated that by 2009 the trustees could have about $800,000 available.

Brodbeck said the township could get a low-interest loan if additional money is needed.

Whichever route the trustees follow, new or refurbished, a replacement aerial truck won’t be ready for delivery until 2009, he said.

Mari Yoder, township fiscal officer, told the trustees their fi- nances look to be in good shape, but reminded them they were discussing a large road project- the resurfacing of Co. Rd. 24.

While the trustees did not vote on the fire truck question, they did agree to have a nota- tion placed in their meeting minutes, giving department members the go-ahead to begin considering a replacement aerial truck.

Brodbeck said a committee of AFD members will be named to look at the department’s options. They should know something by March or April, he said.

The department is considering a new aerial truck because truck No. 101, the current one, is more than 30 years old. It requires frequent and expensive repairs.

One of the latest problems was the emergency light bar. The one on the truck was so old that parts were no longer available.

A new one would have cost more than $1,000.

The department got around that problem by buying a good used light bar from one of its members for $250.

“We put it on 101 and it works great,” Brodbeck said.

The next fire truck in line for replacement is a 1978 pumper truck. Brodbeck said the replacement cost is roughly between $275,000 and $300,000.

He said the plan is to replace it as soon as money is available.

Ruffer said if a refurbished aerial truck is purchased at a reasonable price, the old pumper could possibly be replaced that much sooner.

What will become of truck Number 101? Brodbeck said AFD has been told it has a $12,500 trade-in value.


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