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Repairs put Gilford's aging fire truck in service

GILFORD - The fire department expects to have Engine 4 back in service by Feb. 1 after spending almost $50,000 to repair the 25-year-old pump truck.

After the repair work is done, the truck will be legally able to travel on state roads and should work better than before, said Town Administrator Scott Dunn.

It won't, however, meet requirements of the National Fire Protection Association, which recommends that fire trucks be retired after 25 years of service.

"It will be legal on our roads, but it will never meet the current firefighting standards," Dunn said. "But that's what the people voted for."

In September, voters defeated a ballot question to buy a new for a new $441,000 fire truck to replace the old engine, which had been Engine 1's backup and the town's only pump truck before a state inspection took it off the road in April.

The proposal, the second brought to voters this year, was defeated by 10 votes at town voting. A total of 1,832 votes were cast on the ballot question, which needed a three-fifths majority, or 1,099 of those votes, to pass. But the vote was 1,089 in favor, 743 against.

Voters defeated a similar proposal at Town Meeting in March, with 709 in favor to 915 against.

Since Engine 4 was taken off the road, the town has had to borrow fire trucks from Belmont and Laconia while relying heavily on mutual aid. Fire Chief Stephen Carrier said during the summer, six calls required borrowing a neighboring town's fire truck. In three of those cases, the department borrowed a Laconia truck, and three times it borrowed a Belmont truck, he said.

On several occasions, mutual aid was needed from other towns because the town only has only had three trucks available, he said.

The truck's brakes, radiator, cab, and electrical system needed repair, and it needed a new pump.

Repair work began in October. Since then, the town has spent more than $36,000 on a replacement pump and $12,000 on replacement parts, Dunn said.

"We've put more than 100 man-hours into it so far," he said.

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