OLD ORCHARD BEACH — The fire chief is asking the town to support the purchase of a new ladder truck.

The Town Council voted last month to authorize a referendum question on the June 9 ballot, which will ask voters whether or not to approve $1.2 million for the purchase of a “heavy duty ladder fire truck.”

According to town documents, the current ladder truck underwent inspection for required certification, and “significant deterioration” of numerous structural and other vital components was found. The inspector concluded that the truck had limited remaining service life, and the conclusion was validated by a separate inspection, according to town documents.

“I come to you tonight, not necessarily because I want to, but out of necessity,” said Fire Chief Ricky Plummer to the Town Council at a public hearing Tuesday night. Plummer said the cost to repair the ladder truck was more than $220,000. Plummer said the ladder truck has been temporarily mended so that it will last until it is replaced.

Two others spoke out that night in favor of the fire truck purchase, one of whom was Community Watch Council President Helene Whittaker. She said the current ladder truck was 15 years old and not worth $220,000. She said many of the streets in Old Orchard Beach are narrower than streets in other communities, and finding a used truck that would be a good fit for the town’s department is difficult.

The truck is an investment in the town’s safety, she said, and the chief has done his research. “This is money well spent,” she said.

Assistant Town Manager V. Louise Reid said the Town Council had also received 21 emails from residents in support of a new ladder truck.

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or [email protected]

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