Police & Fire

Milo FD will need to keep looking for a replacement ladder truck

MILO — A vehicle that would have replaced a more than 40-year-old ladder truck in the Milo Fire Department fleet will not be coming to Maine, the Milo Select Board learned from Fire Chief Matt Demers during a meeting on Tuesday, March 5.

“The fire department (in New York state) that currently owns the ladder truck that we wanted to bid on decided they’re going to keep it as a spare so we’re looking again,” Demers said.

During the February select meeting, Demers said the department found a 2012 100-foot aerial ladder truck it would like to bid on which is in service and is fully certified. The ladder is pre-piped so a connection at the bottom would supply water to the top and can be operated via remote control from the ground.

In November the fire department was given the formal go-ahead by town officials to start looking for a ladder truck with the $200,000 estimated purchase price to be included in the upcoming budget with a related article to be on the March 11 annual town meeting warrant.

In the fall Demers said insurance won’t cover the needed $20,000 repairs on the department’s current approximately 42-year-old platform aerial truck. He said the original purchase price was $95,000.

With the new station coming we’ve discussed it and we’re better off looking for a truck that will fit the new station, not isolate it to the truck that fits this station. That will open the doors to a lot more options,” the chief said then.

“We’ve been dumping good money over good money into that truck ever since we’ve had it, and it’s not going to stop,” Demers said. “We’re already seeing rust issues that are going to have to be addressed right off as well as mechanical things that keep going wrong with that truck.”

When asked, he said the current vehicle would be good for parts and the fire department has had trouble finding components in the past.

While department personnel look into other potential trucks, the Dover-Foxcroft Fire Department will continue to assist with its ladder truck.

 “Right now they’re the only one in the county with a ladder truck,” Town Manager Robert Canney said.

In other business, Canney gave an update on the  public safety building project.

“We’re wrapping up the engineering package with an environmental assessment and preliminary architecture report with the engineers (Plymouth Engineering) and getting that submitted to the USDA,” he said.

“We kind of flushed out a timeline where we can get it out to bid within the next two to three months and we’ll probably be able to open up the bids and select a builder in a June or July timeframe,” the town manager said. “With that being said, whoever we hire won’t be doing any work this year, it will be next year, so we probably won’t be breaking ground and doing construction until the spring of 2025.”

The town is currently in the planning stages of a new building to house the fire, police, and public works departments on Park Street. The community can spend up to $6,375,000 in USDA funds for the public safety building, which is being planned for near the business park and across the road from the Milo Water District office less than a mile up the street from the 100-year-old town hall where the fire and police departments are currently located.

Canney also said the  Henry “Butch” Heal Memorial Bridge spanning the Sebec River downtown is due to be replaced in 2026 and not 2025. “So there’s just a lot of work to do between now and then and that’s what the delay is,” he said.

The town manager had previously said the bridge is in the Maine Department of Transportation’s work plan for 2026, at a project cost of $31 million.

The new bridge will be oriented to go above Trafton Falls. There will be an impact on the nearby Veterans Memorial Park, power lines, and hydrants and this all is being coordinated by the MDOT and relevant partners.

Plans include 6-foot shoulders plus sidewalks, and the new bridge can be opened to ATV traffic. The current span will remain in place during construction and online public hearings are set for this spring or summer.

In the fall of 2022 the Sebec River bridge was formally named for Henry “Butch” Heal, a U.S. Army private first class who died in combat on April 22, 1968, several days shy of his 21st birthday. The new bridge will keep the name to continue to honor Heal.

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