Board asks city to replace fire vehicles more frequently

February 26, 2020 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Providence officials urged department directors to come up with a plan to replace fire department trucks on a more regular basis.

Members of the Providence City Council Committee on Finance made the request Tuesday after hearing of concerns about the age of the vehicles, the Providence Journal reported.

Derek Silva, president of the city’s firefighters union, sent a letter earlier this month to Ward 8 City Councilman James Taylor expressing concern about the department’s vehicles.

He said that while he understands the city’s financial constraints, he would like officials to come up with a comprehensive plan for replacing the vehicles when they reach 20 years in service.

Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré said at Tuesday’s meeting that while the city’s fleet is old, it doesn’t mean that it’s unsafe. He added the public safety department has a team of mechanics making sure that the vehicles are safe to operate.

The trucks have gone through a number of repairs over the past few months for various mechanical issues, including one that lost its rear wheels while returning from a call.

The department, however, doesn’t have the proper funds to replace equipment as frequently as it would like and relies on federal grant dollars for many of its vehicle purchases, according to Paré.

John Igliozzi, chairman of the Committee on Finance, said that the issue should be at the forefront of upcoming budget discussions.