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Kittanning approves purchase of new fire truck

| Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2006

KITTANNING --Council yesterday approved the $646,951 purchase of a new fire truck for Hose Co. 1.

Only two bids were submitted, both by the Smeal Fire Apparatus Co. of Nebraska. The first bid was for a fully equipped truck costing $646.951.The company's second bid was for a slightly smaller, standard equipment "stock unit" truck costing $617,280.

Council voted 5 to 2 to buy at the higher cost. Council members Wilber Stitt and Robert Hulings cast the "no" votes and Steve Atwood abstained from the vote, saying he did not have enough details about financing.

Gerald Shuster, council president and a member of Hose Co. 1, said the more costly truck has extra safety features not found on stock units such as a hydraulically operated hose bed and a deck gun deluge nozzle.

"The hose bed is in a compartment under the ladder and the hydraulic feature means that the hose is accessible faster and more easily," Shuster said. "It also makes it easier and faster to retract a wet hose after a fire. The second feature is the deck gun deluge nozzle. This rotates 360 degrees and allows firefighters to fight a fire on say a second or third story while other firefighters may be on a ladder fighting fire at a higher level. The deck gun makes it safer to the firefighters who are on the ladder and also allows a multi-story fire to be attacked as several different levels at once."

He said the costlier truck also has a more powerful engine and a larger cab.

Council asked solicitor Chase McClister to confirm financing from Merchants Bank for about $360,000 in a 15-year loan at 4.3 percent interest. Shuster said $92,000 of the cost of the truck will come from the borough's fire apparatus fund which may only be used for fire company apparatus such as a new truck. Hose Co. 1 will apply for a $150,000 loan from the state Fire Commission Loan Program at 2-percent interest. The Fire Commission loan will be guaranteed by the borough.

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