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Manchester Fire Department seeking grant for $1 million fire truck

New Hampshire Union Leader

October 07. 2013 10:43PM

MANCHESTER — The Fire Department is moving forward with plans to seek a nearly $1 million grant to replace one of its aerial trucks, after getting initial approval from an aldermanic committee.

The Committee on Community Improvement on Monday authorized the department to seek the Assistance for Firefighters Grant, which is overseen by Federal Emergency Management Agency. The grant would require a 10 percent match from the city, according to Fire Chief James Burkush.

The chief told the committee that this was lower match ratio than unusual and would likely result in more applicants and a greater competition for the funds.

Burkush said the aerial truck the department wants to replace is 20 years old. He said he considered the vehicle unusable as a back-up truck and that the department would seek to trade in the vehicle and apply that to the cost of the new vehicle, estimated at $1 million.

An aerial truck, also known as a ladder truck, is typically the largest and most expensive apparatus in a fire department’s fleet, and can cost as much as $1.3 million.

In response to concerns raised about “strings attached” to the grant, Burkush said this wasn’t the case.

“Right now there’s absolutely no strings,” he said. “We’ll bring this back to you if we’re awarded the grant, if we’re fortunate enough ... We’re anticipating a year or so before it would be brought back.”

The vote to back the grant was unanimous.

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