Seaside Heights has always been particularly proud of its volunteer fire department, and thanks to a good deal of research on the part of the borough’s firefighters, taxpayers may save close to $1 million by extending the life of one of the most important tools in the department’s arsenal.
The replacement of the older of Seaside Heights’ ladder trucks, a 2008 American LaFrance model, would come with a seven-figure price tag, however to ensure reliability and technology up to 2024 standards, an upgrade is required. Fortunately, there is a second option which borough officials endorsed via ordinance last week.
“To replace it would be between $1.2 million and $1.4 million,” said Councilman Richard Tompkins, himself a volunteer firefighter. “So basically, what we did was went out and looked at whether we could refurbish this truck to brand-new condition.”
A life extension for the truck turned out to be a feasible option, leading the borough council to introduce a bond ordinance which would fund the overhaul.
“We saw we can probably get another 15 years out of it for $550,000 in comparison, so it’s quite a bit of a savings,” said Tompkins. “This will bring the truck, basically, back into brand-new condition. They’re going to be replacing everything.”
Seaside Heights operates two ladder trucks, a heavy rescue truck, a special operations truck, water rescue equipment and several smaller vehicles.
The borough council is required to hold a public hearing and second vote before the bond ordinance to fund the upgrade is formally adopted. That is expected to occur at the council’s next meeting Jan. 17.