2008-08-27 / Front Page

Ladder truck on fire department wish list

BY ERIN O. STATTEL Staff Writer

MATAWAN — A demonstration ladder truck was on hand at the borough's recent National Night Out Against Crime for residents to get an idea of just what the borough is in the market for.

"We had asked a sales representative from Crimson if they would be willing to send a demonstration ladder truck out to National Night Out, and it just fell into place," said Councilman Kevin Mendes recently.

The truck was on loan from Crimson Fire, a fire apparatus manufacturer, for the Aug. 5 event.

"We are looking at longevity and want to buy the truck that is right for Matawan," Mendes said. "We don't want to buy something that is overbuilt, but we do need something to scale about three stories."

Mendes explained that a truck similar to the one that was on display typically runs between $850,000 and $900,000.

Fire Department Chief Joseph Tamburello said that he feels that the department has displayed the need for the new truck.

"We have proven a need for a truck as far as the fire department goes; now it is just the fiscal aspect and a question of when," Tamburello said. "Several weeks ago we did have a structure fire on Orchard Street and we needed Aberdeen to respond as well."

Tamburello said that the need is there, but the financing is not yet available.

"The council is receptive," he said. "I do not get the feeling that they are denying us anything; it is just a matter as to how to finance such a large purchase."

Tamburello explained that the ladder truck the borough currently owns has been condemned because it failed a safety test. He also said this truck would not be able to serve any other town because of its condition.

"The current hook and ladder truck is useless to anyone; it failed to pass a safety test, and basically it will have a negligible trade-in value," he explained. "No one would be able to refurbish it and there are no replacement parts for it. In fact, that is the second ladder we have had on that truck and there is just an inherent design flaw that is a continuous problem."

Mendes said that he has been working with Tamburello.

"Chief Tamburello has been instrumental in the needs assessment that the fire department has been doing, and this is something that we need to look into, I think," Mendes said. "I just don't want to see what happened in Belmar happen here in Matawan.

Mendes was referring to the Belmar condominium fire in early July that resulted in injuries to five people, including one resident who jumped from her fourth-floor window.

Tamburello said that he understands the dilemma that the council faces on this issue.

"This has not been a banner year. The economic times are tight," he said. "The fund drive that we currently have going and all the coin tosses and boot drives will fund repairs and maintenance on the fire department buildings."

Mendes said that he would be sharing information on the matter with the rest of the council and the mayor at the upcoming meetings.

"We haven't committed to anything, but you got to try," he said.

Erin Stattel can be reached at estattel@

gmnews.com.

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