During the Allen Township Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, August 10, the Allen Township Fire Company presented their capital equipment plan and made a request for an elevated waterway engine.
“We are equipped to handle farming, mobile home, [and] single story [fires],” said Jacob Schock, president of the fire company. “[But] the new Allen Township is different.”
The “new” Allen Township, he said, has taller, wider buildings, including warehouses, schools, and multistory and multifamily residential units.
“We do not want to see a raging warehouse and commercial fire that we cannot get a hold of,” he told supervisors.
The fire company currently has a rescue engine, a water pump engine, a freightliner, and several smaller utility vehicles; however, none have the height or the water power to fight a warehouse fire.
“This township has an unmet need,” Schock said, before introducing the features of an elevated waterway engine.
This apparatus has a reach of 65 feet, plus the reach of the water. It holds 1,000 gallons of water and can be operated by one person, beneficial during a time in which volunteer numbers are down. The engine can reach elevated floors, lowering internal room temperatures and decreasing the chance of flashing. It is also equipped with a camera so firefighters can see the angles they’re targeting.
The cost of the vehicle is roughly $1 million, money the fire company does have in their capital improvement fund and the township’s 2022 budget.
Schock said the vehicle could be ordered in fall 2021, customized, and delivered to the township by fall 2022. The company plans to reuse equipment from other trucks to save on costs, in addition to selling their 1999 rescue truck.
Supervisor Gerald Montanari voiced displeasure that developers like FedEx are not helping the fire company pay for these new needs. He also asked Schock whether the fire company has thought about sharing inventory between other local fire companies.
“We talk to our neighbors all the time,” said Supervisor Dale Hassler, who is also the township’s fire chief. “They do not have this vehicle…[and we] want something that helps us and helps them.”
“We are changing with the times,” Hassler continued. “We would have bought this back in 2007 had we known how pervasive warehouses would be.”
Schock said the fire company could further save on costs by paying at signing, which would allow them to save as much as $30,000.
Supervisors asked Schock to return to the next meeting with the names of manufacturers and their estimates. Then, the board will vote on a “not-to-exceed” number that the township will donate to the fire company out of their budget to help pay for the new apparatus.
In other news, supervisors voted to approve Phase 2B of the FedEx parking lot extension. Three new areas will be expanded, two for employee vehicle parking (644 spaces total) and one area for a co-mingle lot.
This expansion has always been planned as part of the original development plan. Improvements will start in 2021 and complete in 2022.
The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 24 at 7 p.m. at the Fire Company Building.