Phelps fire truck

The newest addition to the Phelps Fire Department fleet is this 2008 Pierce Velocity Rescue Pumper. From left are Phelps FD Lt. Brandon DeBaere, past Chief Ron Nieskes, Chief Tim DeBaere, Phelps Mayor Brian Hemminger and First Assistant Chief Gene Walters.

PHELPS — While the newest addition to the Phelps Fire Department fleet isn’t exactly new, firefighters are looking forward to putting it into service later this month.

The department acquired the 2008 Pierce Velocity Rescue Pumper last month from Command Fire Apparatus in Pennsylvania. It will replace a 1995 Mack Heavy Duty Rescue.

“We try to rotate trucks every 20 years, and we try to do it while our truck is still in good condition so we can resell it,” said Phelps FD Lt. Brandon DeBaere, who served on the truck committee.

DeBaere is the son of Fire Chief Tim DeBaere.

Past Chief Ron Nieskes and First Assistant Chief Gene Walters joined Brandon DeBaere on the committee. They showed off the new truck Monday along with Tim DeBaere, Howard Hughson and Phelps Mayor Brian Hemminger. Hughson is the fire department’s public information officer.

The committee started looking for a new truck about a year and a half ago. The 2008 Pierce was last used by the Chester Fire Department in Orange County.

The cost, $339,000, was paid for by a material equipment fund in the village budget, which builds up each year until the department needs it. Nieskes said the department hoped to buy a new truck, but it had to use $138,000 from the equipment fund two years ago for new air packs because the department did not get a grant.

“Everyone wants a new truck, but it’s not in the books this time around,” Nieskes said, noting a new truck generally runs between $600,000 and $700,000.

However, the eight-seat Pierce is an upgrade over the Mack, a two-seater. It has more space for storage equipment and a light tower that is used to illuminate a fire scene at night.

Brandon DeBaere said the Pierce will come in handy when firefighters respond to an incident on the Thruway, since it will mean sending fewer trucks to the scene. Firefighters still have to train on the new truck and put radios on board.

They hope to have it in service by the end of June.

Hemminger said truck committee members did their homework in acquiring the new vehicle — with an eye on the bottom line.

“They really looked out for the community by getting a used truck this time,” he said. “It shows a lot of character by members of the department.”

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