Town of Falls Fire Dept. aims to clear the air

To the Editor:

The town of Sheboygan Falls Fire Department would like to present some of the facts that have not been properly and correctly reported in The Sheboygan Falls News since the issue of fixing or replacing our Engine 6 fire rescue vehicle came up last December.

Engine 6 does more than carry jaws of life tools, it is also the second in fire attack engine, and it also carries ice rescue gear, swift water rescue gear, high and low angle gear, numerous EMS supplies such as a defibrillator, PEDs kit and heavy trauma supplies.

All this equipment rolls on every first responder call to our response area.

In regard to the information on the current operational status of the engine, all the information on the truck’s active status was made in real time to the town chairman (Steve Bauer).

The day we found the frame was rusted through, the chairman was in our station so he could see for himself and talk to the inspector that had discovered the flaw.

The town of Falls Fire Department had stuck over $10,000 into the truck last year to keep it as an operational tool for the fire department.

It was also never asked if there was any other outstanding issues with the truck not found in the yearly inspection.

The diesel powered generator that is very under sized for supplying AC power has been giving us problems since late summer, as well as the light tower on top of the truck that is used to light accident scenes at night whenever the temperature gets below freezing.

The town of Sheboygan Falls Fire Department presented five different options to the Town Board in regard to replacing Engine 6 on a short and long-term basis.

Purchasing a used fire truck was one option. we had no success in our search of well over 100 different trucks.

The reason we had no success was because this one engine replaced two vehicles for the town.

When this truck was purchased, the town challenged us to downsize and we did very successfully. However, this makes this truck almost one of a kind.

We also explored using the old box on the engine and putting it on a new truck and frame.

We also explored repairing the truck with the manufacturer of the truck. They build and repair these trucks daily, so they are the experts.

However, the Town Board went behind the backs of our officers and ordered an inspection at another vendor’s location.

This means the truck was out of service without advising the chief or assistant chief or rescue captain.

This vendor has done such repairs on dump trucks and garbage type trucks, but to the best of our knowledge, the vendor has never done repairs on a fire truck.

The consolidation of departments was actually brought back up by the Town Board that had previously shot down the chance to consolidate the city of Falls, town of Falls and Johnsonville departments.

A few years ago, the town and city of Falls fire departments spent almost two years putting together a plan to start sharing manpower and equipment costs and equipment.

This was shot down after two years of hard work by the offi- cers of all departments involved.

This was a great chance missed by the town. However it was brought back up so we started to again put our heads together regarding a possible consolidation, which we think is a great chance to provide the best possible service to our customers - the taxpayers.

At the next meeting on the subject, Johnsonville stated that their entire department would quit if this happens. The consolidation was again shot down.

There was also a plan put together by our department that would replace all the fire equipment for the town of Falls and Johnsonville departments.

This was brought to the Town Board’s attention years ago. It was stated that it was a great idea, but nothing ever happened.

Had the plan been followed at the time, the town of Falls would have had an estimated $450,000 surplus sometime in the 2020s.

The repair quote from Pierce addressed all the issues that were found at the time of the inspection.

The quote from Fishers only addressed some of the issues that were discovered

The quote also did not state any standards that would be followed in the repair of the truck, and was extremely open ended potentially opening the town up to a lot of other added costs to repair all the issues that caused the truck to fail the yearly inspection.

Also, the ISO is not the governing body in truck repairs. That is the DOT.

ISO cares if the truck has yearly maintenance and if the pump is tested to push more than 750 gallons per minute.

NFPA states that a fire truck can only be classified as a class A or 1 engine for its first 10 years in service after that it falls to class B or 2. This rating does not affect the ISO rating of that department.

Also, a very important number to the taxpayers that was explained in great detail at the meeting has not been explained in the paper.

As the truck sits now it is not worth $1 to another fire department in its current state.

Even if the truck is repaired by Pierce Manufacturing it will only be worth $35,000.

Pierce’s quote to do the repairs is $65,170 and the quote from Fisher’s is $33,200, but that is not for complete service.

Now that seems like a bad investment for a town that is struggling to keeps its head above water. It seems to us like these numbers have been missed.

The ISO rating while the truck is out of service will not change. It will only change if it or a replacement is not put back in service.

There was also two comments about the age of the truck that we did not agree on, as well as this truck being maintained by a local business with success.

The truck has always had its yearly maintenance performed by Red Power Diesel, which is based out of Fremont Wisconsin, and now Emergency Apparatus Maintenance. which is out of Minnesota.

It is unheard for fire trucks to reach 500,000 miles in this area. This is way off for fire trucks, but it may be in-line for over-the-road trucks.

Also, why was it not questioned that if the Town Board chose to have the truck repaired now considering there is a referendum set in April for replacing the truck and buying Johnsonville a new engine?

It has been reported numerous times that this engine in Johnsonville is in very good condition.

Actually, it is in such good condition it will not be replaced.

The engine will be kept and potentially another engine will be put in service next to it making the town of Falls the only township to have four engines.

We feel that this is important information that the taxpayers may not know.

We take a lot of pride in what we do with very little money

We just want to help give the public as many facts as possible.

Scott Kroeplien
Town of Sheboygan Falls
Fire Department
rescue captain

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