The Brookfield Boards of Selectmen and Finance have approved funding for a new fire boat. Candlewood Fire Company Assistant Chief Jeff Dunkerton gave a presentation and answered questions on their apparatus needs - Estimated Life, Replacement Costs and Required Funding, for the purchase of a replacement fire boat. The request is outside the normal budget cycle, as they need 5 to 6 months lead time to be equipped by Labor Day.
The replacement fire boat will cost nearly $319,000. $100,000 would be absorbed by Candlewood Fire Company, $190,000 would come from the fire apparatus reserve fund the town maintains and the balance will be transferred from another town account. Candlewood Company received a $5,000 grant from FirstLight Power and is getting $15,480 from the sale of the old boat to offset their part of the contribution.
One of the issues they've been having, and came to a head in the spring, was cracks in the hull. A welder tried to fix some of the cracks, but more kept appearing.
The radio compartment gives the boat captain the capability to speak with the other surrounding towns and doctors in the ER. With the size of the vessel, firefighters can work on two patients on backboards and can transport three on backboards. The drop down bow gate comes to a 90-degree angle, allowing easy access to the water line to remove victims or for divers to go in and out of the water.
An old problem with the jet drive system was that as the milfoil mats over, it's impossible to move the boat or to spray water. The bottom of that system acts like a vacuum.
An ATV could be loaded onto the boat, if needed.
Dunkerton also discussed and answered questions on the repairs needed for Engine 21 noting the back end of the fire truck is rusted and rotting. If taken out of service, it would be of no value to the town when it came time to sell the apparatus to offset the cost of a new truck. Dunkerton says Engine 21 could last another few years if repaired, and give them the retail value when it is sold in another few years.
It will only take a couple of weeks to repair, but it can be done locally in Connecticut. The $31,800 for emergency repairs to keep the truck in service would be paid for through a transfer of funding.