The Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company is back up to a full complement of firefighting vehicles, now that the organization has put into service Engine 443, which is stationed at the company’s main station at 18-20 Riverside Road.
The fire company purchased the used vehicle for $5,000 earlier this year from the Town of Southbury. The fire company spent about $28,000 to refurbish the truck and bring it up to operating standards.
Sandy Hook Fire Chief Bill Halstead said that the drivers and workers at All-Star Transportation, LLC, donated $5,000 to the fire company for the truck’s purchase. The Waterbury-based school bus company transports Newtown schoolchildren to and from school.
Chief Halstead said he expects that Engine 443 would be used on emergency calls involving brush fires, fallen utility lines, and pumping details. He said he expects Engine 443 would be used on roughly 100 calls a year. The fire company typically responds to between 500 and 600 calls annually.
Also, Engine 443 would serve as an occasional substitute for Engine 441 when that vehicle is out of service.
Chief Halstead noted that Engine 443 only has about 27,500 miles on its odometer. The fire company hopes to get five years or more of firefighting service from the refurbished 1988 Emergency One vehicle, he said.
The truck will have no designated driver, he said, adding that any firefighter who is qualified to drive it to emergencies would be able to do so.
The refurbished Engine 443 is a 30-foot-long Class A pumper truck that carries 1,000 gallons of water onboard. The vehicle has cab space for seven people.
The vehicle has a new radiator, new set of belts, and a new water pump, as well as updated lighting equipment. Sections of the vehicle were repainted to conform with Sandy Hook’s color scheme for fire trucks. Some equipment was transferred from the former Engine 443 to the current vehicle.
The fire company bought the Southbury vehicle to replace the former Engine 443, which was heavily damaged when a tree fell onto it on an emergency call during Superstorm Sandy in October 2012.
Sandy Hook firefighters donated the former Engine 443 to firefighters in Retalhuleu, Guatemala, a city in the southwestern section of that Central American country.
Overall, Sandy Hook has nine vehicles and two trailers stationed at its two firehouses.
Engine 443, which went into local service on August 10, has been dispatched on several calls since then.