Original post date: March 12, 2009

BOSTONSince the Jan. 9 death of Lieutenant Kevin M. Kelley attributed to brake failure on a ladder truck in Mission Hill, the lack of basic maintenance on the Boston Fire Department's fleet of fire trucks has been under major scrutiny. A report by an outside consultant concluded the Boston Fire Department has failed to adequately maintain its fire trucks and that the city should hire an inspector to ensure that the vehicles are safe, Boston Fire Commissioner Roderick Fraser said, as reported by the Boston Globe.

A citywide inspection of fire trucks found at least four ladder trucks and four engines with problems serious enough that they needed to be taken out of service for repairs, according to the Boston Globe.

Fraser said the consultant's report will recommend the city hire a fleet manager to oversee a preventive maintenance regimen.

The ladder truck involved in the Jan. 9 crash had not had a brake inspection since March 2008, though E-ONE, the manufacturer of that truck and 43 others in the city's fleet, recommends brake inspections at least every three months, reported the Globe.

The Fire Department has a maintenance division of 12 uniformed firefighters who rotate tires and fix broken lights, among other duties, but they are not licensed mechanics.

A week after the fatal crash, Mayor Thomas Menino ordered the Fire Department to hire four licensed mechanics without negotiating the move with union representatives.