Homewood Fire Department to keep 1997 pumper, sell 2007 truck

The Homewood village board approved the sale of the fire department's 11-year-old fire engine that has become too costly to repair. Instead, the department will keep a 21-year-old fire truck in reserve.

The department purchased a new fire Pierce Enforcer fire engine this year. It was originally meant to replace a 1997 Smeal pumper. The department aims for 20-year replacement cycles, Fire Chief Bob Grabowski told The Chronicle.

Before the vote Sept. 25, trustees reviewed a memo to Village Manager Jim Marino from the chief. Grabowski said the 2007 Crimson fire engine is rendered inoperable because of an electrical issue. Fixing it would be cost prohibitive. 

"As you know, since delivery of the Crimson fire engine in 2007 we have had nothing but problems,” Grabowski wrote in the memo.

The current problem has been a chronic one for about two years. In that time, the village spent about $30,000 with three different vendors, including the manufacturer, trying to repair it, Grabowski said. The truck has been out of service since February.

The original cost of the vehicle was $374,750.87, Grabowski said. The village has $222,656.12 in repairs into the truck over its lifespan. 

It will be sold at an auction, private sale or by sealed bid. 

The new Pierce Enforcer arrived on Aug. 21 and was put into service a week later, Grabowski said. The $596,897 purchase from Global Emergency Products was approved by the village board in September of 2017.

To meet the recommendations of the Insurance Service Office and the National Fire Protection Association, Homewood needs a front line engine, a front line truck and a reserve engine. 

In his memo, Grabowski said he met with Marino and Homewood Finance Director Dennis Bubenik on the issue. The three decided the best course of action would be to keep the 1997 Smeal fire engine on reserve and budget for its replacement in 2019. 

The village also owns a 2011 Pierce Arrow ladder truck.

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