No fire trucks were damaged by champagne bottles as Haverhill celebrated the arrival of two new engines during a ceremony Thursday.
Instead of breaking bottles, the event served more as Haverhill Fire Chief Robert M. O’Brien and his Department’s proud show and tell of the two new custom trucks manufactured by Wisconsin-based Pierce Manufacturing. Deputy Chief Eric Tarpy oversaw the Committee that developed specifications for the new engines. He told WHAV the committee talked with area towns about their experiences, but the key criteria was outlined by the department’s mechanic.
“So, what it really comes down to is service after the sale, availability of parts. Pierce, we believe, is a great manufacturer,” Tarpy said.
He explained the “easy part is getting the trucks. The hard part is keeping them in service.”
The arrival of new Engines 1 and 3 launches a cascade of truck reassignments involving the Water Street, High Street, Sixteenth Avenue and Bradford Fire Stations, ultimately pushing out at the end two 1987 Hahn fire trucks in the village call stations.
Besides O’Brien, his staff and firefighters, those taking part in the ceremony included former Fire Chief William F. Laliberty, Mayor James J. Fiorentini, City Councilor Timothy J. Jordan and state Rep. Andy X. Vargas.
A year ago, Council President Melinda E. Barrett notified the mayor that two-thirds of the City Council believe the oldest Hahn fire trucks are dangerous. She wrote, “The Hahn’s open seating, even modified by a bar, is a mortal danger to those firefighters having to use them, according to NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) standards.” At the time Fiorentini had already agreed to one replacement, noting he had already committed to replacing a rescue truck the previous year, a tanker truck this year and a pumper in two years.
In the end, a compromise was fashioned by adding the second new engine and pushing other replacements out by a year.