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Jan 14, 2016 9:20 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Sag Harbor Fire Department Needs New Trucks

Sag Harbor Fire Department Chief Thomas Gardella explained to the village board the department's need for new trucks. ALISHA STEINDECKER
Jan 19, 2016 1:18 PM

The Sag Harbor Fire Department needs to replace several trucks, which could cost upward of $1 million.

Last week, Chief Thomas Gardella told the Village Board that replacing the three vehicles is necessary, as they no longer operate properly.

“We have reached an almost crisis situation with the apparatus we have,” Chief Gardella said, adding that he and Village Treasurer Eileen Tuohy have worked out a 10-year plan to spread out the cost of the three trucks, which would likely total $1.1 million to $1.3 million.

The first truck due to be replaced is the “7-1-3,” a basic firefighting and rapid intervention truck and “the first truck out the door” in an emergency, Chief Gardella said. He said it has outdated flashing lights, which interfere with radio transmissions. The emergency lights actually must be turned off in order to hear transmissions, the chief said.

The brakes leak and the hose is more than 20 years old, but “those are minor issues,” he said, compared to the fact that the fire truck does not comply with national standards. That’s unacceptable because it’s a “basic firefighting truck and rapid intervention truck that gets called to mutual aid fires,” he said.

The 7-1-7 rescue truck, which goes to all structure fires, is a quarter-century old and the brakes grab, among other problems, according to Chief Gardella. “It’s tired—it needs to be replaced,” he said.

Lastly, the department wishes to purchase a fire-police truck, a vehicle used to secure roads, control traffic and ensure the safety of firefighters who respond to an emergency. Without one, the department has been using a passenger van to secure fire scenes.

“It’s a major safety issue,” Chief Gardella said.

He told the board that the 10-year plan to replace the three trucks would ensure that the village is “sound and healthy going into the future.” The plan “would space out the debt for these three trucks to a manageable point,” the chief said.

The idea is not to touch the department’s truck reserve fund, which is currently $290,000, so that when the next front-line engine needs to be replaced, in 2021, the reserve will have accumulated enough money to purchase a new one.

The department has also been working with several other East End fire departments, including East Hampton, Bridgehampton, Springs, Amagansett and Montauk, on a regional grant for updated portable radios. The chief said each radio costs $2,500 and the department will need approximately 30 of them.

“A firefighter has to be in possession of a radio or in communication of a radio” at all times, he noted.

“It’s time for a bake sale,” Village Trustee James Larocca said jokingly of the expenditures, which the board postponed making a decision about.

Chief Gardella said that the Village Board has not yet made a decision about how it would pay to replace the trucks, but that he will meet informally with the board later this month. When it draws up the village’s annual budget, he said, the Village Board will “have to make a decision.”

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"Village Trustee James Larocca said, “It’s time for a bake sale.”"?

I love the Sag Harbor Board...
By Draggerman (942), Southampton on Jan 14, 16 3:49 PM
The bridgehampton fire dept just spent 1000000 for a truck that wasnt needed maybee you can borrow their truck
By yassar arafar (33), sag harbor on Jan 15, 16 12:06 PM
A valve, a light bar and a radio. That's like replacing your car if the headlights, radio and thermostat go bad.
By VOS (1230), WHB on Jan 16, 16 3:17 AM
1 member liked this comment