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Grant will help pay for Tonawanda paramedic vehicle

The Town of Tonawanda Police Department will replace six vehicles, including one that erupted into flames in January

The 2015 Ford Explorer police vehicle is one of the six police vehicles which will be upgraded to 2017 models by the town, at a total cost to the town of $134,000 - which is $202,600 minus trade-ins.

The Town of Tonawanda Board is also replacing its paramedic unit, but learned it will be receiving assistance to pay for that.

Chief of Police Jerome C. Uschold told the Town Board Monday that the James V. Ryan Paramedic Foundation was giving a $33,961 grant to help the town purchase a 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe for the paramedic unit.

Though the vehicle is not a direct replacement for the police vehicle that caught fire, it will take some of the pressure off the costs to replace a new emergency vehicle in the town,  Uschold said.

"This certainly helps - any kind of donation like this helps," Uschold said. He said the foundation is paying to upgrade the emergency response vehicle that had been in place.

The James V. Ryan Foundation was established in 1985 to honor the town supervisor who spearheaded the effort to establish a Town of Tonawanda paramedic program and support the emergency medical service in the town. The foundation has helped the town acquire the emergency response vehicle as well as automated external defibrillators for use in the school district, every marked police car in the Town of Tonawanda and for the Village of Kenmore Fire Department.

The fire that destroyed the police vehicle was caused by an electrical malfunction inside the car, according to police reports. The exact cause of the wiring that led to the fire is unknown, because there are bundles of wires underneath the dashboard from several different manufacturers, Uschold said.

But he said the good news is that the town replaces its vehicles every two years, and the 2015 Ford Explorer was in rotation to be traded in. Uschold said the town was out the cost of the vehicle's trade-in value - about $5,000, not the entire cost of a new $40,000 police vehicle.


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