Darien finance board OKs $1.3M to replace fire truck from 1988

Photo of Brian Gioiele
The Noroton Heights Fire Department

The Noroton Heights Fire Department

Justin Papp / Hearst Connecticut Media

DARIEN — The Noroton Heights Fire Department will soon have a new ladder truck, replacing one purchased more than three decades ago.

The Board of Finance, at its meeting Tuesday, approved a $1.3 million transfer from the Board of Finance reserve account for the purchase of the new fire truck. Fire officials expect the choice and final dollar amount in about two months.

While these funds come from the capital reserve and require no Representative Town Meeting vote, finance board members suggested passing a bond resolution for the $1.3 million at its next meeting — a move that would require an RTM vote.

Finance board members said this move does not impact the fire truck purchase — those funds are now available to the fire department as it prepares to go out to bid. This move allows the town the opportunity to bond the money and replenish the capital reserve fund.

The new truck, according to NHFD Chief Zachary McEwan, would replace the 1988 Mack CF ladder truck, which is the first to respond to structural calls and rescue calls within his department’s response area.

“We have been fortunate to have this truck serve the town of Darien since 1988, being refurbished in the early 2000s,” McEwan told the Board of Selectmen earlier this month, adding that the truck “has been a seamless apparatus that has served the community well by surpassing its expected useful life.”

“A new apparatus will be safer for not only our members but for our community,” he added.

Truck 20 — the one being targeted for replacement — also responds to other areas within the town as automatic or requested mutual aid and has responded to other communities in support of our mutual aid community partners, McEwan said.

Over the last two decades, McEwan said Truck 20 responded on average to more than 341 calls annually.

The new apparatus would be a 2022 model year, have a 75-foot aerial device, have a 500-gallon water tank, and carry an assortment of hose, hand tools, ground ladders, rope rescue equipment, and water rescue equipment.