The new Engine 1 is already marked and has a distinctive black and red exterior.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — It took 10 years of trying, but the Fire Departmen on Friday morning finally took possession of a new pumper engine.
The 2015 E-One Cyclone II will replace the nearly 30-year-old Engine 1, said Fire Director Stephen Meranti, and should be in service by the end of August.
"This will replace our 1987 Pierce pumper that we bought brand new in '87," he said. "It served us very well."
The new custom truck from Greenwood Emergency Vehicles of North Attleboro was delivered to the station a day ahead of schedule, causing a bit of excitement and stopping traffic emergency personnel took pictures of the nearly 17 ton truck as it was turned around.
The acquisition was funded by the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The grant match was 95/5, with the federal government providing $425,000 and the city $21,250. The truck pumps water and both Class A and Class B foam.
"We've been very successful with fire safety, with operations, we got a lot of equipment over the years," Meranti said. "The one we haven't been able to get is the vehicle grant."
After nearly 10 years of trying, Meranti called in Amalio "AJ" Jusino for help last year in writing another grant. Jusino, president of Emergency Response Consulting, has been successful in landing grants for other departments locally and across the country.
"It just all boils down to wording, and I know the process well," said Jusino, also assistant manager of North Adams Ambulance Service. "This is my first fire engine ... every year the vehicles are very competitive. I credit knowing the area well and knowing the technology of the newer trucks."
What also helped, he said, was the fact that the department was replacing a very old vehicle. "Increased firefighter safety is the priority in most of the grant process," he said.
Meranti said he was appreciative of Jusino's work and for Mayor Richard Alcombright's support of all the grants the department's applied for.
Safety, convenience and mobility along the city's many steep and narrow streets were paramount in customizing the truck, said the fire director.
"We appointed a committee, lead by acting Lt. Mike Goodson, as far as the design goes, the cab of the truck, the layout everything, they decided on how they wanted the truck setup," Meranti said. "It's very similar to our Engine 3 and Greenwood was very accommodating."
The committee of Goodson, Alan Richer, Jason Garner, Greg Lancto, Juan Bolte, Stefan Lamarre, Bob Patenaude, Brent Lefebvre, John Lancto and Mike Sherman considered the way the truck should operate and its look, in consultation with Greenwood.
They opted for a black reflective striping with gold in addition to the fire engine red on the exterior; in the back is a reflective chevron to highlight the truck for motorists as well as chevrons inside the doors so they can be seen when open. Access panels roll up into the body rather than open out to prevent accidents, LED lighting is installed inside and out to ensure visibility to access equipment. A generator provides the power.
Two hydraulic telescoping LED floodlights are attached to the cab; there's also a backup camera and folding footsteps to the top of the vehicle. All the gauges and valves are color coded and the storage areas stainless steel and customized to hold the department's equipment. A EMS symbol marks where emergency medical supplies are kept, and an American flag decal was added.
Ladders also now pull out from the back rather than being stored on top. On the old truck, their rack is pulled down and out from the side, which can cause issues if there are cars or poles in the way.
"They really put a lot of thought into it," said Meranti. "It's a really well-built truck. It should meet our needs for many years to come."
The biggest visible difference from Engine 1 is the fully enclosed cab so four people can fit inside; it also has a suction system so it can be filled from below. On the older engine, firefighters have climb on top with five gallon buckets to fill the foam tanks.
"It has a 500-horse engine for the steep hills, and the angle of departure and approach is higher than the last one by 4 inches," Meranti said, to prevent the truck from bottoming out.
"It's got a little tradition, we've got the mechanical siren off of the '87. [Greenwood] reconditioned it so it's still in good shape."
The truck will be broken in over the next couple weeks, Greenwood will provide some training on the new technology and it will likely have to go back to North Attleboro for some punch list items, before becoming the main service truck. The old Engine 1 will be traded in.
Mayor Richard Alcombright took a ride in the truck with the delivery driver, along with two reporters.
"It not only helps protect the city it also helps protect our public safety people," he said. "Upgrading euipment, new technology is very helpful but the main message here is it's a great team effort with Amalio writing the grant, with the director pushing this and pursuing this for 10 years, and with the guys having such input into the truck itself.
"Our guys built this truck ... they know exactly what they need."
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