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Lackawanna bolsters firefighting fleet with purchase of pumper

Lackawanna firefighters are celebrating the purchase of a new $500,000 pumper, marking the first time since 1997 that city money funded a firetruck, said Ralph Galante, chief of the Lackawanna Fire Department.

“I’ve been trying to purchase this for 10 years, so it’s kind of huge for the fire department. This truck can supply 1,500 gallons of water per minute,” said Galante. “And it includes a foam system that will allow us to put out flammable-liquid fires. Before, we had containers of foam that we had to add to the water, and that took more time.”

The pumper will be constructed during the next 10 to 12 months by E-ONE Hamburg, a fire apparatus manufacturer based on Camp Road, said Galante, who expected delivery in December 2019.

Guidelines issued by the National Fire Protection Association recommended no more than 15 years of active service for pumpers. The truck currently employed by the department will be 22 years old by the time it is replaced, said Galante.

“Maintenance costs have just skyrocketed. We just had the brakes replaced, but you’re only running those trucks about 2,000 miles a year,” the fire chief said.

Resolutions seeking the funding appropriation were passed by the City Council earlier this month. Two bids for the pumper were received by the city, confirmed Jeffrey DePasquale, city clerk. The $557,644 bid submitted by E-ONE was selected because the second bid did not meet equipment specifications, said Galante.

“They offered aluminum which can cause corrosion when joined with a dissimilar metal,” explained Galante. “We wanted stainless steel.”

The bid includes funds to purchase new ladders for the city’s fire apparatus to replace the 40-year-old ladders currently in use.

The 2018 pumper features a gas detection device that tests for the presence of four gases including oxygen, hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide. The pumper will be assigned to the historic Station No. 3 at 2990 South Park Ave., which was built in 1928, said Galante.

The Lackawanna Fire Department responded to nearly 2,900 calls in 2018, said Galante. In 2014, firefighters received more than 3,000 calls for service.

National firefighters assistance grants subsidized the city’s acquisition of its two most recent purchases: a ladder truck in 2006, and a pumper in 2013, said Galante.

Recently, the city received a boost in fire training equipment that included the replacement of a 22-year-old hose that shrunk from 100 feet to 85 feet, and the purchase of a weighted rescue dummy, hydraulic body-lift and deluge guns that emit large volumes of water. Current guns must be manned at all times, requiring a firefighter to remain in smoky, hot and dangerous conditions to prevent tipping due to fluctuations in water pressure, Galante said.

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