Pittsfield Fire Awaiting Repairs To Two Trucks

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Fire Department is awaiting the return of multiple trucks that have gone in for repair.
Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said the department is currently down two trucks — Tower 1 and Truck 3. Another truck, Truck 2, has just returned to the road after failing an inspection.
Tower 1 has been out of service for about a month, the chief said in an email on Friday. It was damaged at Canoe Meadows while responding to a structure fire during a thunderstorm. The truck struck a low-hanging limb and the control pedestal on the turntable was damaged. The vehicle was sent to Walpole for repairs and is expected to return to service on Thursday.
In its place, the reserve ladder truck had just returned to service after failing and then passing inspection. 
"Our reserve ladder truck, Truck 2, had a rejection sticker due to emission problems (yes, even fire trucks have to pass emission tests)," Czerwinski wrote. "This truck is over 20 years old and motor parts are impossible to find. The last major motor repairs took months as we had to wait for parts to arrive from Europe. This also drives our costs up due to the shipping alone! We have continually strived to maintain this fleet to the best of our ability, but a number of our apparatus are rapidly reaching that point of obsolescence due to the lack of replacement parts."
The vehicle was re-inspected last week and currently has a valid sticker. 
"Even though this truck had emission challenges, at no time was it cited for safety issues," the chief wrote.
The City Council did approve borrowing $200,000 to completely refurbish that vehicle. But, the chief says it may not be worth it. 
"We're currently studying the refurbishment of Truck 2. Due to the motor issues we've had with the truck, it may not be feasible to put a lot of money into it," Czerwinski wrote.
Truck 3 will be out of service for about a month more, Czerwinski wrote. That vehicle needs a complete motor rebuild, which is being done Springfield.
The department won't have a full fleet of vehicles for some time but those in disrepair are slowly returning to service. Meanwhile, the City Council also approved $500,000 in borrowing for a brand-new engine. Czerwinski says that should be ordered by the end of the month and takes nine to 12 months to build.
The department has a total of 11 apparatuses, according to the city's website, which includes four reserves (Truck 2 is a reserve).

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Pittsfield Superintendent Seeking New Opportunities

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Superintendent of Schools Jason "Jake" McCandless is actively seeking new opportunities and may leave the Pittsfield Public Schools. 
After McCandless' evaluation by the School Committee on Wednesday, he confirmed that he is a finalist for the superintendent's position of the Silver Lake Regional School District in Kingston, just north of Plymouth.
"It simply feels in my gut like it is a good time to make a change," McCandless said.
McCandless came to Pittsfield in 2013 after being in Lee for 11 years, eight of those as superintendent and three as principal. He came to Lee after three years as an assistant principal in Virginia. 
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