RED BANK: TWO NEW PUMPERS PLANNED

The new apparatus would be stationed at the Independent Engine house, shared with the First Aid Squad on Spring Street at left, and the Westside Hose firehouse on Leighton Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s volunteer fire department will replace two trucks in the coming year under a plan discussed at last Wednesday’s council workshop session.

“It’s been a long-awaited purchase,” fire Chief Scott Calabrese told the council.

The planned acqusition of two new Ferrara Group custom pumpers marks the department’s first apparatus buy since the Navesink Hook & Ladder Company’s million-dollar ladder truck in 2014.

“We have two engines that are 30 years old, and they need to be replaced right away,” said Calabrese. “Many repairs have been building up, costing us a lot of money.”

The Seagrave pumpers, one built in 1992 and the other in 1994, will be traded in, Borough Business Administrator Ziad Shehady told redbankgreen. With those credits, the new trucks will come in at a combined price of under $1 million, he said.

Fire department vehicles are to be replaced every 20 years under a borough fire department protocol, said Mayor Pasquale Menna. Shehady said Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, as well as ratings standards that affect a homeowner’s insurance policy, also factor into the determination of when apparatus needs to be replaced.

Westside put in annual requests beginning 10 years ago for a new apparatus, but got no response from borough hall, Calabrese told the council.

Menna said “funding issues” and a reorganization of the fire department that led to the closures of three out of six firehouses were factors.

“The immediate urgency was a new ladder,” Menna said. “Nobody wanted not to provide new equipment. It was just a question of available resources from the municipality.”

Menna said the borough now has the bonding capacity to take on the purchase.

Shehady said the purchase was anticipated under a  capital improvement bond resolution approved by the council last November. Financing is through the Monmouth County Improvement Authority.

“This is now just the selection of the actual apparatus,” he said.

The pumpers, expected to be delivered 250 days after a formal order is submitted, will be housed at the Westside Hose Company on Leighton Avenue and the Independent Engine Company, which shares space at the First Aid Squad building on Spring Street.

Originally, the plan was to buy one pumper, but the fire department has “come up with a new strategy to get two vehicles, both in need of replacement, for the price of what originally was allocated,” Shehady told the council.

Councilwoman Kate Triggiano, who serves as police and fire commissioner, said the need for the equipment was made clear when she joined the council in 2019.

“This is amazing progress,” she said. “It shouldn’t be brushed over that there’s two pumpers being purchased when the money allocated was for one truck. This is a home run.”

She praised the firehouses for “working together to see how the money could be appropriately managed.”

In addition to the two pumpers being replaced in and the ladder, the fire department fleet includes one pumper each at the Union Hose and Liberty Hose companies, built in 2003 and 2006, respectively; and an American LaFrance mid-mount aerial platform built for Navesink Hook & Ladder in 2001.

Here’s the full agenda.

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