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New Shores fire truck arrives, but old one causes a little stir

STORY BY LISA ZAHNER (Week of May 1, 2014)
Photo: Indian River Shores flaunts new ladder truck.

While still enjoying the new-car smell of its two new fire trucks, Indian River Shores is trying to decide what to do with one of the retired vehicles, which has sparked some unexpected debate.

One of the vehicles was traded in, saving taxpayers nearly $31,000 on the newer model, but the 1989 ladder truck wasn’t of much interest to the dealer.

One big reason was its open cab seating is out of safety compliance – the town had rigged a work-around until the new truck arrived. Another was that its ladder is only 50 feet long, compared to the 75-foot reach of the newly arrived truck, which can spray 1,250 gallons per minute.

Town Manager Robbie Stabe said he could put the old truck up for sale on a government surplus website, it might take several months to off-load the vehicle and the going price is about $5,500.

In the meantime, the Town would need to maintain the vehicle and perform a required pumper test on it in June that costs between $1,000 and $1,500; repairs might be needed after a failed test.

Stabe suggested the town donate the truck to the Indian River State College Treasure Coast Public Safety Training Complex in Fort Pierce. It would be “a contribution to the training facility.”

That 50-acre facility, which combines criminal justice, fire science, forensics and emergency management programs, graduates 90 percent of the firefighters hired by the town, and they return there for continuing education. The academy doesn’t have its own ladder truck.

Councilman Dick Haverland said, “if this is worth $5,000 to someone, for us to be giving away the Town’s money is inappropriate.”

Acting Public Safety Director Capt. Mike Jacobs said the town makes good use of the academy training facilities, especially for firearms requalification. He said some facilities and classes are provided gratis and some come with a fee. Some are funded by grants. “And the college has a fire tower, we want to be able to train at their tower,” Jacobs said, to help with the Town’s upcoming ISO fire protection rating audit.

Councilman Tom Slater suggested a compromise that wouldn’t necessarily involve the exchange of cash. “I wonder if we could get some sort of a credit?” he asked.

Mayor Brian Barefoot told Stabe and Jacobs, “See if you can work out some sort of a deal and bring it back to us in May. My preference would be to see it go to IRSC for the obvious benefits, but I think we need to take one more step.”