Firefighters begin training on new tanker
Kendra Baker, The News-Times, Danbury, Conn.
Mar. 24—NEW FAIRFIELD — After a more than a year wait, New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department’s Company A welcomed a new, $416,000 tanker to its fleet on Friday.
The 2021 Pierce/Freightliner M2-106 replaces the old Tanker 7 that Company A had used for more than 20 years to shuttle water to and from fire scenes.
Assistant Fire Chief Kristian Ebbesen said the original plan had been to refurbish the 1997 Freightliner FL80, but that changed after Gowans-Knights, a Watertown-based fire apparatus and equipment company, evaluated the truck.
“The report we got back recommended that it be replaced,” said Ebbesen, adding that the old tanker was rusting and had an old steel tank, which had already been fixed a couple of times.
With a 1,800-gallon water tank, 1,250 gallon-per-minute pump and 350-horsepower engine, Ebbesen said Company A’s new tanker is a “pretty simple truck,” with everything needed to shuttle water.
“You could easily build a truck and it’ll be $1 million in two seconds, but we kept it basic,” he said. “We looked at what it’s going to be used for and went from there. There’s too nothing crazy on this truck — and we actually came in quite under budget.”
The new tanker was originally budgeted at $550,000, but wound up costing $415,900 — most of which was covered by money from the town’s Fire Department Reserve Fund, Ebbesen said,
In November 2019, the Board of Selectmen voted to allow the fire department to use $353,600 from the reserve fund to purchase the tanker.
Company A was responsible for the remainder of the cost and used money raised through annual fundraisers like “Shred It Day” and letter drives to cover the balance, Ebbesen said.
“We save up our money, meet every month to go through what we have and plan for the future. We plan ahead and make investments,” he said, adding that a rescue truck will probably be addressed in a few years.
Ebbesen said the process of getting the new tanker was “smooth,” but took longer than normal due to COVID-19. It was also a “different experience,” he said.
“We normally go to the factory, look at the truck and meet with the engineers — but everything was over Zoom,” Ebbesen said.
A standout feature of the new Tanker 7 is its reflective American flag chevron on the back.
“It’s probably the biggest key feature on the truck,” Ebbesen said. “The way it reflects at night looks really cool.”
New Fairfield’s new Tanker 7 is in limited service as firefighters familiarize themselves with the truck. Ebbesen said it will probably go into regular service in a few weeks.
As for the old Tanker 7, Ebbesen said it’s found a new home in West Virginia.
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