The Suffield Fire Department is nearly ready to put the town's new engine into regular service.
It's an interesting situation, because "you're spending $600,000 you don't really want to have to use (at a tragedy), but the reality of it is different," Interim Chief Mike Thibedeau said recently. Money for the truck was approved a bond referendum earlier this year.
He cited two motor vehicle accidents just last week on South Grand Street that required rescue trucks and also the Hartford Life Star helicopters to transport the victims of a motorcycle/car accident.
The $600,000 truck is being fitted with the updated radio systems and also holds two new pieces of equipment, commonly known as "the jaws of life."
The new spreader and cutter are unique, said Thibedeau, because they run on battery packs, allowing the fire response teams to carry them quickly to the scene of an accident without having to attach to a power supply.
"Now we can start working at a scene without having to wait for the rescue truck (which carries the original jaws of life)," he said.
The town will sell a truck purchased in 1984 at the Ebb's Corner station and move a truck from the center of town to make room for the brand new vehicle.
Thibedeau said the second part of the bond, an engine tank with a 2,500-gallon capacity, is ready to go out for bid. That engine will serve the Ratley Road district, an area without hydrants. The current rescue pumper holds 1,000 gallons.
The truck is part of the $1.4 million bond approved earlier this year by a town vote.
The bonding referendum approved the fire department improvements and $3 million in roadwork, but struck down a proposed new library and Town Hall renovations.
More than 3,500 voters turned out for the referendum or submitted absentee ballots