Fire Chief Wants Department To Keep Old Ladder Truck

The Smithfield Fire Department has just received delivery of a 2019 Smeal 100 foot ladder truck.  The new truck is expected to be put into service around November 1st after being up fitted with equipment and training has been completed.  The truck will replace a 28 year old ladder truck.

Originally,  Fire Chief John Blanton suggested selling the 1991 E-One ladder truck once the new truck is put into service.  Chief Blanton appeared before the Smithfield Town Council this month asking for approval to allow the Smithfield Fire Department to keep the old ladder truck as a spare.

Blanton said the value of keeping the truck as a spare would outweigh any financial gain of selling the truck.  The Department of Insurance gives credit for having a reserve aerial fire truck and the extra credit would benefit the department in keeping the fire insurance rating as low as possible.

Blanton said due to the aging fleet of the fire trucks, especially three American Lafrance trucks, some of the emergency vehicles have been taken out of service due to the lack of parts.  “We experience breakdowns with all of our fire trucks, however our aging fleet along with having three fire trucks that were manufactured by the brand American Lafrance that has since gone out of business in January of 2014, this makes the parts extremely hard to get and when they are available the cost are usually more than twice,” Blanton said in a memo to the council.

Town Manager Michael Scott requested the council postpone a decision on keeping the old ladder truck as a spare until the November 2019 meeting. Scott said he wants to research how much the fire department is spending to maintain the three American Lafrance fire trucks and might recommend selling one of those trucks.

The Smithfield Fire Department has 9 fire trucks purchased in 1991, 1992, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2017, and the ladder truck purchased in 2019.