Anonymous donor gives fire dept. $25K for fire truck

Fire chief says the gift will be a great help to the fire department but is not a long-term solution for equipment needs

By Patricia Roy
The Landmark

PAXTON, Mass. — An anonymous donor has offered the Fire Department $25,000 to purchase a used fire truck.

Fire Chief Jay Conte said the donor’s name will be made public only after the purchase is complete.

After consulting with the donor, Conte said it was determined that the fire department would look for a used Quint, or ladder truck with pump, similar to the one the department already owns.

That truck was purchased in 2003, and gets a lot of use, Conte said, so a second one to have as back-up is a good idea. The truck is in need of some refurbishment and could be out of service for some time, he said.

Conte estimated that refurbishment costs could go as high as $100,000 for the 2003 truck.

Another reason for using a Quint is that the Fire Department has been using that brand truck since 1981, so firefighters are very familiar with its operation, he said.

The chief has been searching dealerships for used trucks and has narrowed the range to five vehicles. The purchase will be outright, so the department will not be going through a bid process for a used truck, Conte said.

The chief said the second ladder will be handy when responding to fires at larger homes, Anna Maria College or the planned senior housing.

Conte labeled the senior housing project as a “serious challenge” if a fire were to break out.

The closest mutual aid ladder is located in Spencer, which Conte estimates to be a 15- to 20-minute trip away from Paxton.

Purchasing a ladder/pumper truck gives the town two trucks for the price of one, Conte said. It has the ability to be used as either type of vehicle when responding to a fire.

The donation for a truck buys the town and the taxpayers some time in buying a new fire truck, Conte said.

While the used truck will be handy to have, Conte emphasized that it’s not a long-term solution.

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