Feds helping pay for new fire pumper

Photo Credit by Anthony J. Machcinski/ Happy to hear about the new rig, from l., are Capt. John Hund, Commissioner Alphonse Petracco, Dep. Chief Paul Cafone and Chief Philip Nicolette.


By Anthony J. Machcinski

The Nutley Fire Department will get a much-needed update now that the Department has been approved for the U.S. Assistant to Firefighters grant.
The Fire Department was notified Feb. 1 by Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-8th District), who relayed the news to Dep. Fire Chief Paul Cafone.
“Without Congressman Bill Pascrell and (Public Safety) Commissioner Alphonse Petracco, this wouldn’t be possible,” said Cafone. “This is a prime example of everyone working together,” added Petracco.
The grant is being used to acquire a new pumper truck to replace the volunteer rig, which has been in use since 1982. The search for a new truck is in the “very early stages.”
Nutley was awarded $290,500 in grant money, 10% of which will be matched by the township in what as known as a 90/10 match. The federal government will max out at $265,950 and the town will pay $29,550. If the price of the truck extends past the $290,500 price of the grant, the town will have to pay the extra amount.
As for the truck itself, Cafone and Fire Capt. John Hund are still in the process of putting a committee together to prepare the bid specifications. According to Cafone, the committee will consist of Cafone, Hund, Fire Chief Philip Nicolette, and two other members of the Nutley Fire Department yet to be determined.
The new truck will either be a brand new model or what is known as a demo truck, a truck that is taken to shows. The demo truck would have more mileage on it, but would only have been used at shows to showcase the model’s options.
The biggest obstacle for the new equipment will be the height of the truck itself. Since the truck will be kept at the Park Ave. fire station, the truck has to meet the height of the garage doors, which currently stand at 9 feet-10 inches.
Committee members will also look to make sure it has room to carry up to six firefighters, including the driver, along with a class 1 pump, and a 750-gallon water tank. The truck will also need to meet certain national standards in order for it to be put in use.
What will happen with the current truck, which has an estimated 61,000 miles, has not been decided.
“This truck has been the pride of this (Engine 3) house,” Nicolette, a 30-plus year member of the Nutley Fire Department.
Since its purchase in 1982 for $72,800, the truck has seen service in many memorable blazes in its tenure, including being one of the responders to the World Trade Center attacks and other big fires and first responding situations in the area.
Nicolette recalled that during one blaze, the pumper pushed out water for nearly 24 hours straight, while using only a quarter of a tank gas.
“We really got some good service out of that truck,” Nicolette said.
Research on a new truck is in its beginning stages and very few specifications have been laid out.
While the Fire Department has already taken bids on the existing truck, no sale has been consummated but the township figures to decide what to do within the next couple of months.

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