The City of Norwich, Conn., can’t replace all its aging fire trucks, and its city manager is proposing reducing the fleet by four or five vehicles. The cost to replace all its aged units is estimated to be $21.1 million over a 20-year period.
In February, the City Council directed its city manager, John Salomone, to perform a needs analysis and replacement schedule of the fire fleet. He wrote in a report that without fleet reductions, the city will not be able to sustain replacement funding at the maximum level.
“The reduction of five vehicles phased out over a 20 year period would require some alteration of emergency responses for each separate department,” Salomone wrote in the report presented to City Council. “I believe that the gradual reduction of vehicles can be accomplished. All departments already have a close interrelationship when responding to emergency calls.”
With a four-vehicle reduction, the city would need $18 million, and with a five-vehicle reduction, the city would need $17.5 million.
The five fire stations (one city station and four volunteer stations) have 24 vehicles, including four aerial ladder trucks, 15 engines, a hose tender, and four rescues. The average vehicle age is 22.7 years.
In 2017, voters authorized a referendum of $2.8 million to replace five fire apparatus for the four volunteer fire stations. These represent the first vehicles acquired by the volunteer fire departments in 10 years. The Norwich Fire Department purchased one vehicle in 2013.
The volunteer fire chiefs criticized the report, questioning the proposed reductions, The Day reported.