Town to receive new fire engine

Mont Vernon New pumper truck made possible by grant.

MONT VERNON – The federal government gave Mont Vernon an early Christmas present last week: $182,700 to buy a new pumper truck.

The grant, awarded by the Department of Homeland Security, will be used to replace a pumper that was built in 1984 from a 10-year-old truck chassis and an oil tank.

“It is worn out. We were slated to replace it in 2005, anyway,” said Fire Chief Kevin Pomeroy. “This will relieve the town of a major expense it was going to have to incur.”

The money must be matched by at least $18,000 from the town. Pomeroy said this can be covered by the department’s capital improvement fund, although the payment will have to be approved at Town Meeting in March.

The truck will be built to specifications, work that must be put out to bid. As a result, Pomeroy said, it may be close to a year before the truck actually rolls into town.

“We hope to have it here by next Christmas,” he said.The money comes from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, authorized by Congress to support fire departments facing increased costs due to homeland security concerns.

“Local fire departments and personnel are the first responders in our communities and must have access to the newest technologies and training,” said Rep. Charles Bass, R-N.H., who announced the grant.

Pomeroy said the department applied for the money last spring, and praised town resident Tony Immorlica for writing the application, which Pomeroy called a specialized skill that makes all the difference in getting grants.

The new truck will join three pumpers and a forest-fire-fighting vehicle in the department. Another pumper is scheduled for replacement in 2010.

“It would have been a big crunch on the town to have had to buy two trucks in five years,” Pomeroy said.

Mont Vernon is facing a number of other big capital expenses as well. These include improvements to a leaky roof that closed the school last week, plans to build a highway garage to protect road equipment that currently sits outside, and a consultant’s recommendation that the fire station be replaced in the next few years.

Bass also announced a $63,324 grant to the Waterville Fire and Rescue in the town of Waterville Valley.