COLCHESTER — Voters overwhelmingly approved a $4.5 million bond issue to replace aging equipment for the fire department on Tuesday night.
The town will use the funds to replace three fire engine tanks, one tanker and one tower ladder, replacements First Selectman Mary Bylone said are long overdue. Three of the trucks, including two engine tanks, were purchased in the 1980s, according to the town.
“We have men and women who put their lives on the line every day to make sure we have a safe community, and they deserve to be riding in safe equipment, and to show up at the scene with equipment that can give them the tools they need to do the job they showed up for,” Bylone said.
Bylone said that after she was elected in 2019, the fire department leaders met with her and showed her pictures of fractured frames on equipment, pumps that didn’t work, and equipment that failed inspection. She said previous administrations had failed to address the long-running problem – one of the engine tanks that will now be replaced was originally purchased in 1982 and was scheduled to be replaced in 2002.
“We have fire equipment that is so outdated, it’s not even safe to be in a parade,” Bylone said.
When one of the trucks was out for service to have its frame repaired, Colchester had to borrow one from Clinton. When a fire burned the abandoned Lincoln Lake Lodge in June, the engine that responded couldn’t get the pump to push out water for 10 minutes, Bylone said.
“We’re grateful that it was an abandoned property,” Bylone said. “Now if that was your house or business, think about the difference 10 minutes would make.”