The Scarborough Fire Department plans to order a fire truck similar to this one based in its Pine Point station which it took delivery of earlier this year. Courtesy photo

SCARBOROUGH — Earlier this year, the Scarborough Fire Department took delivery of a new fire engine, Engine 4, assigned to the Pine Point Station. Fire Chief B. Michael Thurlow said he and his staff liked that engine so much, they decided to order another one just like it.

In November, voters approved a bond referendum of up to $725,000 to pay for a new fire engine for the Pleasant Hill Fire Station, one of six stations in the community.

On Nov. 17, Thurlow asked the council for permission to not go out to competitive bid for the new truck, but instead to order one identical to the 2021 Pierce pumper that the department took delivery of in May and put into service in July.

“The truck we’re replacing is one of the oldest in the fleet,” he said.

The department currently has six pumper trucks, two ladder trucks and three ambulances.

The truck the department plans to order has a number of things going for it, Thurlow said.

It’s a smaller truck, which he said makes it easier to maneuver. Because the department is ordering from a company it recently did business with and using the same design, he hopes when all is said in done the truck will cost less than expected, about $695,000. That would be about $30,000 under budget and allow the town to apply for a lower cost bond.

In addition, Thurlow said, “the way the supply chain issues are,” with item orders taking much longer than in the past, using the same design will probably shorten the delivery time to eight or nine months as opposed to a year or more.

In an earlier interview when the fire chief discussed Engine 4, which is similar to what the new truck will be like, the fire chief said, “there aren’t really any new features — beyond new safety features like air bags, anti-lock brake systems and other safety features now standard in many passenger vehicles,” he said. “It is a new design for our town that features a smaller, more maneuverable truck with a short wheel base to navigate some of the denser neighborhoods with narrow streets. It also has a low hose bed design that makes it easier and safer to work from.”

The engine at Pine Point replaced a 1989 E-One pumper and is used as a reserve apparatus, filling in for frontline trucks that need to be taken out of service for maintenance, said Thurlow. The cost of that truck was $660,000.

In a column published in the Scarborough Leader prior to the election Thurlow wrote, “The purchase of a new fire engine will allow for the retirement of the Departments 1996 Ferrara pumper. It will be 26 years old, with approximately 151,520 miles, and 9,250 engine hours when it is retired from service. This apparatus started its service life as Engine 7 at our busiest station, the public safety building. In 2006 it was transferred to Pine Point as Engine 4. The goal was to assign it to a station with fewer responses to assure it could serve for the full 25years it was originally scheduled for.”

In addition to allowing the Fire Department to not go out to bid for the new truck on Nov. 17, Town Manager Tom Hall updated the Town Council on the search for a new fire chief. Thurlow plans to retire Jan. 7.

According Thurlow, the town manager said there are six applicants for the position and interviews with candidates are being arranged. He said the town hopes to hire someone before he leaves so he can work with his replacement prior to stepping down.

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