‘New’ fire truck suffers engine failure

Posted

The city’s “newest” ladder truck is already down for the count, and there’s no telling at this point for how long, according to fire chief Peter McMichael.

The truck in question is the 1994 Simon Duplex LTI ladder truck apparatus that was purchased from Westerly for $25,750 almost exactly two months ago in May.

At the time of its purchase by Warwick, the truck had just 18,811 miles on it despite being 25 years old, and was heralded by city councilmen and Mayor Joseph Solomon (who helped barter the negotiation for the truck) as a savvy, cost-effective stop-gap measure to become the replacement for Ladder 1 – a 1998 truck stationed at the department’s headquarters in Apponaug – which faced upwards of $125,000 in repairs to get back onto the road.

A similar ladder truck purchased new would have cost the city between $850,000 and $1 million – as was discussed at the time of the truck’s purchase.

McMichael confirmed on Tuesday that the 1994 truck was being looked at by mechanics to assess why it was “bogging down” while running, but couldn’t attribute it to something other than “a mechanical issue” at this point in time. Other sources have indicated that a piston within the engine had a catastrophic malfunction.

The ladder truck had to pass an inspection prior to being approved for purchase, which it passed. Mayor Solomon spoke about the issue during an interview on Wednesday.

“I don’t know what happened there,” he said. “I know that we have an outstanding piece – a 20,000-mile vehicle that encountered some type of mishap. They’re looking into it and it will be somehow repaired and restored into service.”

Solomon wouldn’t conjecture as to the cause of the engine malfunction outside of it being an “accident.”

“This was a great piece of apparatus, and what occurred hasn’t been known to occur in an engine with 20,000 miles. I guess accidents do happen and I’ll just let them deal with it. It’s not lost. We still saved the million dollars,” he said. “I can’t formulate any conclusion myself on this because I don’t possess the facts to do so. If there was something other than [an accident that contributed to the engine failing], I’m sure it would come to light.”

At the time of its purchase, McMichael said, “I’m under no misconception that this is a 10-year vehicle, but what I’m hoping to do is put this on the front for a couple years and find a new piece and then use it as a reserve.”

On Tuesday, he expressed his frustration at the situation.

“No one is more disappointed than I am,” McMichael said. “Hopefully it’s nothing too major. This is part of the problem when you buy something that is pre-owned.”

Fire Union Chief Michael Carreiro said he was thankful nobody was injured when the truck broke down. He said that the Warwick Fire Department had already put on between two and three thousand miles on the truck since it went into service in May. He wondered if the truck’s quick transition from low usage in Westerly and then going “from zero to one hundred” in Warwick contributed to the engine’s failure.

Comments

14 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
justanidiot

gorsch, a 25 year old fire truck died. speaks volumes bout our fare city

Thursday, July 11
SaltyJake

Looks like the "bogging down" issue was a bad motor as evidenced by the pieces of it laying in the road. Who thinks buying a 25 year old piece of fire apparatus is a good idea? If Little Joey and his band of maniacs think used is such a fiscally responsible idea, they should look into buying used police cars, dump trucks, trash trucks and maybe some reloaded ammo for PD or used computers and printers for city offices. I'm sure if he looked on the web based Government auction sites, he could save the city millions. Then, there would be no pension raping to pay the bills and school sports would be saved.......and the nightmare continues........

Thursday, July 11
Scal1024

I'm certainly not an expert in this field so I'll defer to those who know much more about it than me. Are there no other apparatus available from say...I don't know... '94-'18??? If I ever had to present a power point on why this City is failing I would include 2 articles: The one article bragging about saving money buying an apparatus from 1994 and the other article would be from 2 months later explaining why the apparatus is already broken down. Mechanical failure is a mechanical failure but I can't help but think about those who spoke out from the beginning suggesting this was a bad idea. One thing is certain commenter "Inside Info" didn't have any "inside" or "credible" information at all.

Thursday, July 11
Hillsgrove Hal

This is a perfect analogy for Solomon's time as mayor so far -- the shameless self-promotion, the rushing into what looks like a good deal, and the complete meltdown that he should have seen coming from miles away, if he weren't so concerned about PR.

Thursday, July 11
justanidiot

eye mays be an idiot but i knows that equipment is judged on the hours of operation not on da mileage.

Thursday, July 11
Jimmy

One thing that you can say about this mayor, he knows full well nothing other than mechanical failure is to blame. Yet he leaves that faint feeling that the it could be “something else”. Solid leader.

Thursday, July 11
The Skipper

A new truck cost $850,000.00 to $1,000,000.00. even if you have to spend another $25,000.00 to fix the engine you're still $800,000.00- $950,000.00 ahead.

Granted I don't know all the hidden BS you have to go through when dealing with the government and procurement, and regulations. I don't know if you can just go down the street to Joe the mechanic, or if you have to go to some "Fire Equipment specialty engine service" where the mechanic has more letters after their names than a brain surgeon. I know that the following is true:

A fire truck is a serviceable piece of equipment not like a car. The engine is only one component of that whole. In a tractor trailer the engine is rebuilt again and again while the cab and frame can be good for millions of miles. Then if the engine and transmission had recently been replaced or the truck was new but the frame and cab was damaged you can buy a "glider kit" that replaces the cab and front axle, but you transfer the engine transmission and rear end from the original truck at a great savings from new.

all of you "armchair critics" don't get it. You're just looking to place the blame. the only real problem here is they will have to put off buying the new unit for another year. If they don't make this molehill into a mountain? The unit could be back in service in less than a month.

Friday, July 12
justanidiot

so skip, whys are we paying are teachers so much. we could find some bum willing to do the job for a fractional of the cost. just slip him a news book so he can learn the kiddies good

Friday, July 12
Fastfred Ward 4

I,ll keep my mouth close.

Sunday, July 14
Jimmy

Unfortunately when someone dies, either citizen or public safety member that’s only when something will change. And the blame game will be 10 times worse.

Sunday, July 14
The Skipper

To: Just an Idiot,

Well I don't know what Teachers and Fire Trucks have in common,but I know you can't make an old teacher as good as new by replacing her engine and rebuilding her Rear end. Still with teachers the longer they stay the more they're going to cost you, and what do you get for it? Diminished performance and more lost time year after year. Of course with the fire engine when it finally becomes functionally useless and can't do its job anymore? You don't have to keep a worthless expense on the payroll until it decides to retire. You can get it out of the way and replace it with a brand new unit. When you have the need and the money. You don't have to keep it in the back lot still keeping it on as an expense for another 20-30 years or more until it dies......

Please excuse the grammar, punctuation, and spelling. after all the money you've put out. I am a product of the Warwick School System....

Monday, July 15
SaltyJake

Hey Skipper

Speaking of the back lot, where did all the deadlined city vehicles go? A few weeks ago there were a bunch lined up and now they're gone. I wonder if there may have been a decommissioned truck that the diesel motor could have been used to fix the used ladder truck? Did the city sell them off? If so, that money could be allocated to the purchase of a new motor for the used ladder. Guess we will never know.........

Monday, July 15
Daydreambeliever

They were auctioned off a few weeks ago.

Thursday, July 18
SaltyJake

Auctioned off. Where did that money go? What will it be used for? I believe I saw a decommissioned fire truck in that row. I can only hope selling that fire truck off doesn't have an adverse affect on the federal grant the city got for a new fire truck. And, speaking of a deadlined fire truck, evidence tape around the used Westerly ladder, really? Fuel and oil samples taken for testing I will assume. That truck broke down because it was old and underused for 20 years. Diesel engine are designed to be run. Lack of use by the previous owner killed it. No foul play by anyone. As we can clearly see, demented minds think it was sabotage. It wasn't. It was just another poor decision on the list of poor decisions by the current city administration.

Tuesday, July 23