Knox Fire District to vote on truck sale

The Enterprise — Marcello Iaia

The Knox Fire Department marched through the Berne hamlet on Memorial Day this year followed by truck 1642, a pumper from the year 2007. Voters will decide this week on the sale of tanker truck 1632.

KNOX — Fire commissioners here believe now is a good time to switch to a new tanker truck.

From 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 19, a referendum will be held in the firehouse at 2198 Berne-Altamont Road for voters to allow the sale of a tanker that can transport 3,000 gallons of water and three people. Typically, few people turn out for fire-district votes.

The truck, made in the year 2000, can still be sold for as much as $180,000, but its value is expected to decline if the district waits, said Frank Fuss, the district’s secretary.

“The truck’s actually quite functional,” said Fuss. “It’s just kind of outlived the way we deal with fires. We have fewer and fewer volunteer firefighters…Especially during the daytime, there’s less people available.” He said the resolution, which states the truck is “in need of repair and is determined to be obsolete” uses standard wording for a mandatory referendum to allow the sale of expensive equipment.

The sale will help the district buy a more versatile truck that can hold six to eight firefighters, equipment, and the same amount of water, said Fuss, cutting down on the number of trucks needed to respond in some cases.

“If we don’t do this, it would appear down the road, we would have to raise more money for a lease or bond, or however we chose to capitalize another new truck,” he said.

The department has a total of 36 members who could respond to any alarm, according to Fuss; between 20 and 24 of them are interior firefighters, requiring specialized training and equipment.

Of the district’s four trucks, a second one was made in 2000, but it holds less water. The commissioners want to sell the truck that can hold the most water because of its higher resale value, since they are in demand from districts where water is scarce, Fuss said.

The Knox Fire District covers the entire town of Knox, except a southwestern corner covered by the Berne Fire District.

Only district residents registered to vote with the Albany County Board of Elections are eligible to vote in the special election on Tuesday.

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