The East Franklin Township Fire Department purchased a used tanker fire truck over the weekend.
Volunteers drove to Muncy Valley just north of Lock Haven, PA to purchase a 1999 Freightliner 70 tanker.
Second Captain Brian Guminey brought the truck into town Saturday. Guminey said the truck will replace a 1976 White pumper that had been converted into a tanker several years ago. The 1976 vehicle has been having mechanical problems.
“That truck is no longer safe to be on the road,” Guminey said. He hopes the 1999 truck will be in service within the next 30 days.
“It’s mechanically strong. We didn’t see anything wrong with it. We got a heck of a deal on it. They didn’t want to get rid of it. They just don’t have any guys that can drive a manual (transmission) anymore. It was bitter-sweet for them to watch it roll out the door for the last time. One man’s loss is another man’s gain I guess.”
Guminey said there are around a dozen members at East Franklin who are capable of driving a truck with a manual transmission.
Guminey said the truck will be stored at the substation in Cowansville.
“It is a heated garage, so it will be out of the elements.”
Guminey said the new truck can haul a total of 2,000 gallons – 200 more than the old truck.
“We are gaining side dumps so you are not going to have to back into tanks. You just pull up along either side and be able to unload from a 270-degree range. We are losing a higher velocity pump. Since our old one was a pumper converted to a tanker, it still had the pump on it from the manufacturer. So we are losing a little gallon-per-minute; but for a tanker, we won’t be using it to pump at a fire anyway. It’s going to be feeding an engine that will be doing the pumping. So we are not even concerned about that.”
Fire Department Treasurer Joshua Starr confirmed the purchase price of $23,000.
“Through our successful fundraisers, we were able to make a cash purchase. With our gun drawings that we do every year, this was about two years worth of profits from those fundraisers. It leaves us a cushion should we incur an expensive fix on any of our equipment. It’s one of the reasons we fund-raise. A lot of departments finance their major purchases and vehicles. Fortunately, we haven’t done that,” Starr said.
Fire Chief Mark Feeney said the upgrade was necessary and the timing was right.
“Anytime we take it out (the 1976 truck), we have some little mechanical problems. Because it is a fire vehicle, it needs to be ready to go. So it is time to upgrade. We had the cash in hand to upgrade.”
Feeney said the Department plans to sell the 1976 truck.
“We will actually probably part it out. We will probably sell the cab and chassis to a farmer or somebody that’s not going to run it, because even though it is a 1976, there are less than 50,000 miles on it. So the cab and chassis are still good, but to find parts for it is difficult. We do have a stainless steel 1,000-gallon tank on it that could be sold to someone else. I don’t think anyone would want it as a another fire vehicle as is.”
Feeney said there is nearly $50,000 left after the purchase of this truck in their fund.
“That will probably start us now toward a building fund now that we have all of our trucks in line. We are going to work with the township and look at building a building in the next couple of years.”
Feeney said the new building would be built at the current location at 165 East Brady Road. He said the new building could be built on the current parking lot, then demolish the old building once the new one is erected. He said the new building will have a small hall for baby showers and limited seating events.
“We’re going to apply for some grants. The Township (supervisors) talked to us about utilizing some CDBG grants. The planning stage starts, and I would say it will take a year to get the blueprints, and then go from there,” Feeney said.