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GFD awaits word on firetruck grant

October 5, 2012
The Leader Herald


The Leader-Herald

GLOVERSVILLE - The city Fire Department has applied for federal grant money for the fifth year in a row, hoping to receive funding to replace the old ladder truck that was sold as scrap metal in June.

The department originally sought to sell the 22-year-old truck on June 11 but later learned it could make more money by selling it for scrap. It sold for $5,600 on June 15.

The truck, with a 110-foot aerial ladder, was taken out of permanent emergency service in November after it failed inspection because of corroded and broken parts.

"The issues that it had would have required a great amount of money to begin to try to repair it," Fire Chief Beth Whitman-Putnam said. "The city opted to not go that route because the repair issues would have cost too much to support the usefulness of the vehicle."

The previous year, the city had paid $22,000 for repairs so that it could pass its aerial test and inspection.

Replacement of the city's truck has been included in the city's five-year plan since 2007 and has been added to a capital-projects list every year since then.

The Fire Department has been looking into both new and used ladder trucks over the last month but, but fire officials aren't close to making a final decision, Whitman-Putnam said. She said the department is simply trying to educate itself by viewing and looking into different aerial apparatus from a variety of manufacturers.

One of the trucks officials looked at is a Quint vehicle that combines functions of a typical engine pump and an aerial ladder, so the department would have a single truck that could function in several ways, Whitman-Putnam said.

She said the city is required by the Insurance Services Office to have a ladder truck because there are five or more buildings in the city that are three stories tall or greater. The ISO also requires a ladder to be within 2 1/2 miles of coverage area, she said.

Gloversville has 129 buildings three stories or taller.

The department fights fires in all buildings regardless of height, but the aerial device is needed for elevated master streams and reaching heights greater than two stories for rescue, fire suppression, and other operations, Whitman-Putnam said.

The city was awarded funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for other items in recent years; the last time it got funding to purchase a new engine was in 2002. Before that, the city hadn't purchased a new engine since 1995.

The fire chief applied for a new FEMA grant June 26, she said. She said the agency began making award announcements Sept. 21, but on Sept. 30 the announcements were temporarily stopped due to the end of the federal fiscal year. Around mid-October, the announcements will resume, Whitman-Putnam said.

The department hopes to receive the needed grant money this year the city doesn't have to rely so much on outside departments, Whitman-Putnam said.

"We are not looking for an aerial truck that has all the bells and whistles; we are looking for a truck that will meet our department's needs," she said.

The department has looked at new ladder trucks costing more than $800,000 and a used 2000 ladder truck that could go for about $385,000.

She said most fire departments buy trucks new and have them designed to meet their particular needs. While some used trucks are available, they may not fit the city's needs such as ladder height and tank capacity, she said.

The Johnstown Fire Department, which has a fairly new aerial truck paid for in part with federal money, is on standby to respond to fires in Gloversville.

If Johnstown is not available, the Amsterdam Fire Department can be asked to respond, she said.

Levi Pascher covers Gloversville. He can be reached at



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