Custom Search
CivicLifeSportsSchoolsBusinessFoodOur HomesLetters/OpinionsCalendar

Published January 25th, 2017
MOFD Board OKs Major Apparatus Purchase

A standing-room crowd that included more than a dozen firefighters saw the Moraga-Orinda Fire District board approve a $2.85 million purchase of two fire engines, one fire truck and two ambulances, though two of the directors questioned the timing of the expenditure.
The district's long-range capital plan called for replacing the three major apparatus in the 2017-18 fiscal year, but in response to a question by Director Craig Jorgens, Fire Chief Stephen Healy said that an early purchase was necessary not only because of the condition of the equipment but due to rising interest rates and the cost savings of buying the vehicles prior to the beginning of February. In addition, mechanical issues with two ambulances have persisted and worsened and the chief said the district needs to purchase two additional ambulances, replacing one with over 150,000 miles and the other with over 100,000 miles.
Healy explained that the new ladder truck will take 14 months to build, the engines take about nine months and the ambulances six, and once MOFD commits to the purchase the district jumps to its place in line for assembly. Plus, with the 3 percent price increase taking effect Feb. 1, the district would save about $100,000 if it purchases the vehicles early. "We know we'll need them anyway," the chief said.
Variances in the current year-to-date budget figures that indicate the district may end up short $1 million in revenue this year concerned Director John Jex, who said he would prefer to have the apparatus expenditures reviewed by the finance committee first.
But most of the discussion dealt with the purchase of the truck versus a quint, a vehicle that carries an aerial ladder, a ground ladder, a pump, water and a hose. It operates both as a fire truck and a fire engine but according to many firefighters, does neither operation well.
"I know what an engine can do and I know what a truck can do," said Capt. Daryle Balao, one of the original MOFD firefighters. "My responsibility as a truck captain is to open holes and break things so that the engine company can put the fire out."
A ladder truck carries disentanglement equipment and specialized rescue supplies. It carries more tools than an engine but no water. Its aerial ladder is bigger. Its features are more in line with current firefighting needs, said the captain, whose words were echoed by Fire Marshal Kathy Leonard. "Three-story buildings are being constructed on 20-foot-wide streets," Leonard said, making access by a ladder truck a near necessity.
Nevertheless, Jex and Jorgens voted against the purchase of the truck and the engines, but the motion passed 3 to 2 at the Jan. 18 meeting. The board unanimously agreed to buy the two ambulances.
After the district purchases the equipment it will then bid out lease-purchase contracts for the $2.85 million. The chief will bring the options back to the board, which hinted against financing the apparatus and paying cash, as the district capital budget sits at $10 million, restricted only by the $4 million committed to the construction of Station 43 in Orinda.

print story

Before you print this article, please remember that it will remain in our archive for you to visit anytime.
download pdf
(use the pdf document for best printing results!)
Send your comment to:
Reach the reporter at:

This article was published on Page A8:

Quick Links for LamorindaWeekly.com
send artwork to:
Classified ads
Lamorinda Service Directory
About us and How to Contact us
Letter to the Editor
Send stories or ideas to:
Send sports stories and photos to:
Subscribe to receive a delivered or mailed copy
Subscribe to receive storylinks by email
Our Homes

Copyright Lamorinda Weekly, Moraga CA