The Macungie Fire Department recently purchased a 1989 ladder truck from the Emmaus Fire Department for $20,000, a fraction of the more than $600,000 Emmaus spent on the truck it bought to replace it.
Macungie's new truck is a boon for several reasons, including the fact that insurance companies figure a municipality's ownership of such a truck into individual homeowner rates, though the effect depends on the policy.
The truck – which had but 7,000 miles on it when Macungie bought it – will respond to all dwelling and structure fires, said Macungie Fire Chief Mike Natysyn, and after being put into service on Christmas Day, has already been out a number of times.
Money was collected over the past five years through fundraisers, Natysyn said. None of the money came from the borough's annual budget.
The truck meets all current requirements and is fully certified, Natysyn said.
Jeff Sensenig, who owns Phoenix Fire, a company that maintains and services LTI firetrucks in New Holland, Lancaster County, agreed.
Since working on the truck in 2010 when it belonged to Emmaus, Sensenig said the truck "Is in pretty good shape," and that it should have "a good long life."
"Emmaus officials were told that it failed certification testing just to get rid of it," said Macungie Deputy Fire Chief Matt Sadrovitz.
"They made that comment just to raise money," Sadrovitz said.
At the Dec. 5, 2011 Emmaus Borough Council meeting at which Emmaus Council approved the sale of the truck to Macungie, Emmaus Council Member Brent Labenberg was among the most verbal regarding the truck, its price and its future use.
“Why is it that the next borough closest to us can purchase our used aerial truck and it is not good enough for us to keep?" he asked. "Why is it that some other company in Pennsylvania can purchase that truck and use it and back us up and we can’t use it?”
In response, Council Member Nathan Brown said, "Twenty years is the lifespan of an engine, a rescue or any other type of equipment they have. I was told this is 22 years old and it is time to move forward."
Another Emmaus council member questioned the sale price during the December meeting.
“Obviously I know this has been advertised, and I know how long this has been talked about, but this is the amount you get for a used regular car, not an aerial fire truck," said Emmaus Borough Council Member Wesley Barrett.
"I know what we just paid for a new one, and the estimate of what we would get for this one was between $50,000 and $60,000,” Barrett added.
However, neither comparison is apples-for-apples.
According to an Emmaus Patch story published in November 2010, the Emmaus' new aerial truck was estimated to cost $670,000. Council earmarked $350,000 of residents' tax money as its contribution.