Morenci Fire Dept. evaluating used aerial truck 6.24.09

Written by David Green.

Morenci residents might spot a strange fire truck in town this week as fire department members take a look at Archbold’s used aerial truck.

The Archbold department recently bought a remanufactured aerial unit for $650,000 and are trying to find a home for their 1975 truck. Their fire chief hopes the truck will be purchased by another department in the area, making it available for mutual aid calls.

Morenci chief Chad Lonis told city council members Monday there are at least 40 houses and 25 commercial buildings tall enough to use the services of the truck’s 85-foot platform. The pump has a greater capacity than the city’s other fire trucks.

Lonis said the offer was “dropped in our lap pretty fast” and department members haven’t yet had an opportunity to evaluate the  potential purchase.

Department member Jeff Ort said he isn’t convinced the purchase would be a wise investment, but his mind might change by the end of the week. Similarly, Lonis said his favorable position might change by the time the truck is returned.

Council member Keith Pennington expressed concern about annual maintenance, inspection and training costs. He noted that Archbold spent $25,000 in refurbishing the truck few years ago.

The truck has traveled only 10,000 miles and been put in service 135 hours in 34 years, Pennington said, and that suggests that it isn’t used very often. He wonders if the four other aerial trucks in the area would be sufficient to serve Morenci via mutual aid.

Lonis said the department will consider whether it has sufficient manpower  to operate the truck and whether it can handle the costs involved.

EMS CALLS—Councilor Tracy Schell said that due to state regulations, fire department members will stop serving as first responders to aid the EMS service. Members will continue to help when summoned by the EMS, but not as the first responder.

The situation might change in the future.

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