Sherman fire department gets new tanker truck

Sherman Volunteer Fire Department welcomed a new tanker truck, Tanker 1, a resource that will provide much more “comprehensive fire protection” in town.

Sherman Volunteer Fire Department welcomed a new tanker truck, Tanker 1, a resource that will provide much more “comprehensive fire protection” in town.

Courtesy of Sherman Volunteer Fire Department

SHERMAN — The fire department has welcomed a new truck into its fleet.

Tanker 1, a new, 3,000-gallon tanker-fire apparatus was delivered to the department Oct. 29.

“We’re thrilled that we have this,” First Selectman Don Lowe said. “This (tanker) is fully loaded for comprehensive fire protection and truly upgrades our department.”

The truck, equipped with a 1,250-gallon-per-minute fire pump, replaces the department’s current tanker, which has reached the end of its service life.

It was delivered by Northeastern Fire Apparatus, the vendor for its manufacturer, Marion Fire Apparatus.

A tanker is “the most single most critical piece of fire protection apparatus,” Fire Chief Chris Fuchs said.

“This truck allows us to haul large quantities of water to the scene of a fire when it’s urgently needed” in a town that has no municipal water distribution system, the department announced in a recent post on social media.

Sherman has a population of about 3,800.

The truck costs $649,000, with the town funding 80 percent of the cost over two years and the department funding the remaining 20 percent through fundraising efforts over the past five years, according to Fuchs.

The department maintains a 25-year projection capital replacement plan for all its apparatus and equipment, which allows the town to anticipate funding needs for replacing fire equipment.

The old tanker, a 1999 Freightliner, had minimal firefighting capacity beyond carrying water. However, the new truck has greater capabilities.

Tanker 1 boasts a more powerful motor that will be useful on steep Sherman hills, has four times the pump capacity and advanced safety features. It has a fire-rated pump, pre-connected hoses, improved scene lighting and the ability to carry additional equipment.

“I’m delighted that we’ve made this kind of a commitment because the SVFD members make such a tremendous commitment to the town,” Lowe said. “And so, this is a good deal on all fronts.”

The SVFD was awarded two grants from the U.S. Forestry’s Volunteer Fire Assistance grant program, which helped purchase the majority of the new equipment and hose for the truck.

The department began its search for a new tanker in July 2018, at which time a three-member committee was formed “and tasked with developing the specifications, drawings, and capacity for the replacement truck,” Fuchs said.

Final details about the proposed tanker were brought to the department’s members for discussion and approval, advanced to the town’s board of selectmen and were finally approved at a town meeting.

The purchase of the tanker was forecast in the department’s capital equipment replacement for fiscal year 2019-20.

The SVFD has seven trucks: One engine, one rescue-engine, one tanker, one water source pumper, a brush truck, an ambulance, and a utility pickup truck.

The average lifespan of firefighting apparatus is 20 to 30 years, depending on the condition, and the average life span of an ambulance is 10 to 15 years, according to Fuchs.

All fire apparatus and equipment are maintained to strict National Fire Protection Association, Department of Transportation and State of Connecticut standards to “ensure safety and reliability for emergency use,” Fuchs said.