WORTHINGTON – More research will be done before a decision is made regarding the Worthington Fire Department’s 100-foot aerial truck, which has been problematic since shorty after it was purchased used in 2008.
During a special Worthington City Council meeting this week, several members of the fire department explained some of the struggles they have had with the truck since is became part of their equipment. According to Fire Chief Jason Larson, the aerial truck, built in 1994, was purchased used from a New York department for approximately $309,000. Larson said it was bought sight unseen, then indicated that a couple of department members had gone out “and played with it a little.”
He said the truck is cumbersome to maneuver and has basically been a nightmare since it came to Worthington. The truck has spent more time out of service than in. According to department member Chad Nixon, more than $60,000 has been spent on repairing the truck.
Now the truck needs repairs to the ladder mechanism and is considered unstable and unsafe. Estimate for repairs is $80,000 and would have to be taken to Pennsylvania for the work.
A new aerial truck would cost more than $1 million and buying a used truck 8-10 years old would be over a half million. The department’s revolving equipment schedule has the truck slated for replacement in 2039. There is less than $224,000 in reserves for the truck.
The department’s goal is to get a replacement that also includes a pump and could be second out of the hall. Right now a 2018 tanker/tender is first truck out, and the department has a pumper Larson said is in good shape.
Purchasing a new or used aerial truck would alter the replacement schedule of every vehicle used by the department.
The city is exploring using cooperative buying power but will also be looking into the possibility of leasing a truck that would fit their needs.
During the discussion, it was also brought to the council’s attention that the reserve goals set for each piece of fire fighting equipment was much lower than it would actually cost to replace any of the vehicles – something that will also be looked into in more depth.