North Adams replaces aging Fire Dept. truck

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NORTH ADAMS — Out with the blue, in with the red.

The City Council unanimously approved funding for a new fire department utility truck on Tuesday.

The $52,663.70 request filed last week by Mayor Thomas Bernard will pay for the purchase of a new 2019 Ford Super Duty F-350 truck, replacing the deteriorating 1994 utility truck firefighters refer to as the "blueberry."

The new truck will be red. And no, it does not yet have a name.

The funding will be pulled from the city's parking meter reserve account, which currently has a balance of $265,480. The account, which is regularly used to purchase new vehicles for the police and fire departments, is continually replenished through revenues from parking meters and parking permits issued for city-owned parking lots.

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The truck serves a number of functions for the department. It hauls the department's several trailers, which carry equipment ranging from an electric generator to snowmobiles. At every fire, the truck transports an additional four firefighters to the scene.

The department also conducts smoke detector inspections for local residents, using the truck as transportation. It's also occasionally used by the Police Department.

The old truck had issues with exhaust and a hole in the floor that was patched with a road sign, among other issues. The city has been in possession of it for more than a decade, first acquiring it through a federal surplus equipment program.

"The transmission is shot, it only goes forward, it can't back up hills ... the incline just getting into the station is troubling," Fire Chief Stephen Meranti told the council on Tuesday.

After the new truck is acquired, the old truck will be declared surplus property and properly disposed of, according to Administrative Officer Michael Canales.

Adam Shanks can be reached at ashanks@berkshireeagle.com, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-629-4517.


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