Fischer’s Fleet Service owner fifires back

To the Editor:

I’d like to clarify and respond to statements made in a letter to the editor that appeared in the Feb. 12. edition of The Sheboygan Falls News regarding an estimate I wrote for repairs for the town of Sheboygan Falls Fire Truck 6.

In early December 2013, at the request of a Sheboygan Falls Town Board member, I was asked to inspect and write an estimate for truck frame repairs needed for Engine Truck 6. Engine 6.

It had extensive damage due to severe corrosion to the truck frame. The damage was so severe that the truck was unable to pass its yearly DOT inspection.

That inspection had been done on Sept. 30, 2013, by the Emergency Apparatus Maintenance Company.

A copy of the letter this company sent to the town of Sheboygan Falls Fire Department detailing the findings was printed within an article in the Feb. 12 edition of The Sheboygan Falls News.

On Dec. 6, 2013, Engine Truck 6 was brought to my shop by two volunteer firemen.

The truck was at my shop for two hours. I personally inspected this vehicle. I found the very same damage to the truck frame and other components that Emergency Apparatus Maintenance Company had described in its letter.

My first impression was that damage of this extent occurs over a long period of time.

On Dec. 9, 2013, I submitted an estimate via email to the town of Sheboygan Falls Fire Department for the amount of $32,650.

This amount is for labor and parts needed to complete the following work: disassemble truck body, cut out rotted portion of the frame, install new section of frame, reinforce the frame repair with an additional sleeve on both right and left frame rail to double the frame strength, replace damaged cross members, battery box, air tanks and tank support tubes under the water tank.

My estimate noted the “possible” damage we may find to the fuel tank. I stated problems found with the fuel tank would need to be addressed separately.

I could not estimate costs at the time, because of the fuel tank’s location. It is something I can’t physically see and will not know the full extent of damage to the fuel tank until the truck is disassembled and the tank removed.

The cost of any repairs made to the fuel tank would be in addition to the repairs/costs noted above.

On Jan. 6, 2014, I attended the Sheboygan Falls Town Board. knowing that Engine Truck 6 was on their agenda.

A large number of firemen were in attendance, including the town of Sheboygan Falls Fire Department rescue captain.

I was able to clear up misinformation about my estimate being nothing more than a “patch job.”

I assured the Town Board that these repairs would be a complete fix for the frame damage and this would no longer be an issue for a DOT. Inspection.

I explained in detail to the Town Board about the fuel tank issue, so, that nothing would be left open-ended in their minds.

The worst case scenario is that the fuel tank would need replacing. At the meeting, I quoted (and I will stand by) an additional $1,200 in the event a new fuel tank would have to be specially fabricated and installed.

Best case scenario if we find superficial rust, is to simply clean it up and repaint it.

In that event, there will be no additional charge to the original estimate given. I told the board I would warranty this frame work for 10 years. I told the board I would do a DOT inspection to be included in the cost of the estimate.

Any additional DOT repairs needed (unrelated to the corrosion issues) would be above and beyond my estimate. Additional repairs would not be made without proper authorization from the board.

Since my qualifications to do this work were put into question in an open letter that the Sheboygan Falls News printed in the Feb. 12 edition, I respectfully request I be given the same courtesy to respond.

Please allow me to explain who I am and who Fischer’s Fleet is. I grew up on a dairy farm in Door County and we found our way to Sheboygan County in 1982. I have been a diesel mechanic for 32 years.

Prior to opening my own shop, I was in charge of the maintenance department at a large local fleet. In 1995 my wife and I started our own business, Fischer’s Fleet Service, Inc. My shop is located in Sheboygan and I reside in the town of Lima.

Fischer’s Fleet Service is a full-service diesel truck, trailer and heavy equipment repair facility. We work on all makes and models of large trucks and equipment. From fire trucks, to semis, dump trucks, RVs, school buses, excavating equipment, etc.

We service vehicles from the most basic of routine maintenance, such as oil and filter changes, to complete engine overhauls and everything in between.

We have experience in repairing major frame damage to vehicles due to horrendous accidents, normal wear and tear and even neglect. In addition to working closely with local private companies, we provide service and repairs to many local municipalities, including the town of Sheboygan, city of Sheboygan, Sheboygan Water Department and Sheboygan Falls School District.

We have been providing the yearly services and DOT inspections on the fire trucks for the Greenbush, Elkhart Lake and Haven fire departments.

We also service and DOT inspect the Sheboygan County Haz Mat vehicle. Within the last month alone, I went out on an emergency service call for the town of Sheboygan Rescue Unit. It was out of service and required immediate attention.

A number of years ago, we were the shop that the Glenbeulah Fire Department used to transfer the body of their old ambulance onto the new ambulance frame.

Please remember that underneath all the specialty equipment and fire apparatus that makes a fire truck a fire truck, you will find a truck. We don’t repair fire apparatus or fire equipment, we fix trucks of all makes and models.

Simply put, this is a truck repair issue, not a fire equipment issue. Whether the Board decides to fix this truck at all is their decision to make. Obviously, there are many factors to this issue, of which, I am not privy to or involved with in any way, shape or form.

I was simply asked to look at and write an estimate to repair the frame damage, nothing more, nothing less. This request was based solely on the Town Board member’s knowledge of my shop’s capabilities.

I want to thank the Town Board for giving me the opportunity to submit my estimate.

Les Fischer

Fischer’s Fleet Service Inc.

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