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Firefighters pose with the new Engine 1 delivered on Friday.
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Greenwood sales rep Mike Nugai, left, Amalio Jusino, Fire Director Stephen Meranti and Mayor Richard Alcombright.
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The mayor goes for a rid.
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Color-coded gauges.
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Meranti shows how the lights work in the storage compartments; the heavy duty trays slide out.
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The new truck has many of the same accoutrements as the old one, including hoses and ladders.
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Jusino checks the cab layout.
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The old Engine 1 from 1987 will be traded in.
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Meranti points out how the old cab is open in the back, making it less safe for firefighters.
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The old Engine 1.
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The new Engine 1 from the back with its markings and reflective chevrons.
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North Adams Takes Possession of New Engine 1

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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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."

Tags: fire engine,   fire truck,   

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First-time homebuyer? Follow these steps

Is homeownership a goal of yours? It does offer some benefits, in addition to meeting your basic need for shelter. The equity you build in your home can be a valuable financial asset, and you may get to deduct your interest payments on your taxes. But if you're a first-time homebuyer, what steps should you take?
First, make sure the time is right for you in terms of your personal and financial situations. For example, are you fairly confident that your employment is stable and that your earnings won't decline? Of course, external events can also play a role in your decision. A recent study by Morning Consult and Edward Jones found that 12 percent of respondents postponed purchasing a house during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But if you're ready and eager for homeownership, consider the following moves:
  • Save for a down payment. The more money you put down for a home, the lower your monthly payments, although there's also a point at which overly large down payments can be financially unwise. However, if you can make a down payment of more than 20 percent of the purchase price, you can generally avoid having to pay for private mortgage insurance on top of your monthly payments. Also, as a first-time homebuyer, you might qualify for down payment assistance from your local or state housing authority or a nonprofit group.
  • Check your credit score. A higher credit score gives you a better chance for a lower interest rate. You can request a credit report from, and you might be able to get a credit score for free from your bank. If you need to improve your score, you may want to delay your home purchase.
  • Learn how much you qualify for – and how much you should spend. Once you think you're ready to begin the home-purchasing process, you may want to contact a few lenders to determine the size of the mortgage for which you qualify. Be aware, though, that just because you can get a mortgage of a certain amount, does not necessarily mean that you should. You don't want to become "house poor" – that is, you don't want to spend so much on your house payments that you are cash strapped and can't afford to save for other goals, such as college for your children or a comfortable retirement. You may want to establish a budget for how much you can readily afford to pay for your mortgage each month – and try sticking to it before you buy the house. If you have extra savings, put it toward your down payment.
  • Prepare for unexpected costs. You can plan for your mortgage, utilities, taxes and insurance – but when you own a home, you'll always encounter unexpected costs. You may need to get a new furnace, repair your roof or face any number of other maintenance issues. To help prepare for these costs, try to build an emergency fund containing three to six months' worth of living expenses, with the money kept in a liquid, low-risk account. Without such a fund, you might be forced to dip into your long-term investments or take on added debt to pay for these unanticipated expenses.
Homeownership can be a rewarding experience – and the rewards will be even be greater when you've "done the numbers" and prepared yourself financially.
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