South Hadley Fire District No. 1 to get new $1.2M fire truck

Staff Writer
Published: 12/15/2017 10:48:10 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — Fire District No. 1 residents approved the purchase of a new $1.2 million fire truck Thursday, along with additional money for new equipment and floors at the fire station.

“The firefighters are certainly excited because they’re going to get a piece of equipment that is a lot safer than the equipment they have now,” said Michael Wozniak, a member of the Prudential Committee, the financial planning agency for Fire District No. 1.

Forty-four residents attended Thursday’s meeting, with 40 voting in favor of the new truck. Voters unaimously agreed to spend $200,000 on equipment for the truck and $150,000 for new floors in the station.

“From a district standpoint, it wasn’t a big turnout but we certainly had a good number of publications and articles about it,” Wozniak said.

The new truck will feature a 100-foot ladder, an engine to pump water, a platform, and additional high-tech safety features like collision prevention technology. The new truck is also more automated, so a lone firefighter can operate it and thus respond without waiting for additional operators.

“It think it’s important that people understand the need for the fire truck. We have an aging fleet,” District No. 1 Fire Chief Robert Authier said. “It’s good for the safety of the community and the safety of our firefighters.”

Last spring, District No. 1, one of two that serves the town of South Hadley, retired a 1985 fire engine after it failed to pass inspection. The station has two remaining fire trucks; one from 2009 with no ladder, and another from 1993 with a 70-foot ladder.

The articles unanimously passed included the transfer of $200,000 from the Fire Vehicle Stabilization Account to the New Fire Truck Account to pay for new oxygen tanks, Jaws of Life and other equipment for the new truck, and the transfer of $150,000 from the unreserved cash fund to the Building Improvement Account. Currently, Fire District No. 1 has $640,472 of unreserved funds, as certified by the state on Dec. 4.

Wozniak says the legal process for acquiring the new truck will take between four and six months, but he hopes the district can speed up the process. Renovations for the new floor will begin this winter and are expected to be finished by spring.

Sarah Robertson can be reached at

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