Burlington Town Meeting approved the appropriation of funds to fix an issue with a fire engine that has been limiting the Fire Department's effectiveness and putting firefighters at risk.
The appropriation was for $265,000 to refurbish Engine 1 that Chief Steve Yetman explained has corrosion problems. Yetman said the vehicle had been in Walpole since September because it was unusable in its current condition. Engine 1 is 10-11 years old and is the department's primary vehicle. It also is not due to be replaced for at least another decade.
"We had pump issued, we couldn't get pressure to the hoses," Yetman told Town Meeting. "We had it repaired but a couple of weeks later it started doing the same thing. Right now it is unreliable and unsafe."
During the Dec. 10 Board of Selectmen meeting Yetman told the board the problems were in the electrical harness. He said Pierce, the company that made the engine and will do the repairs, recommended a refurbishment and completely replace the electrical system.
"As they take the truck apart, they will let us know if they find other issues," he said at the meeting. "They will x-ray the frame rail to see extent of damage and depth of corrosion."
Also during the Dec. 10 meeting Town Administrator John Petrin said the town needed to take action on this issue. He said that over Thanksgiving weekend last year the department had to borrow and engine from Billerica.
"We need to do something," he said. "Right now we have a new engine on order that will take about 9 months before we receive it."
Before the Town Meeting vote one member asked if the corrosion was out of the ordinary and whether not it could be expected to happen again.
"It’s not uncommon," Yetman said. "Most of our apparatus is Peirce, but this is not a Piecre issue, it is a Northeast issue."