Thursday, June 18, 2020

Big deal

New fire truck is delivered to Sumpter Township

Sumpter Township Fire Chief Joseph Januszyk welcomed
the delivery of the new 1,000 gallon, Class A engine
fire truck last week.  Photo by Doug Willett
Sometimes, you just get lucky.
That was the reaction of Sumpter Township Fire Chief Joseph Januszyk when he received a phone call this spring, just before business closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Januszyk was shopping for a new fire truck for the township, which had budgeted for the expense, but when the pandemic closed down manufacturing plants, including those building fire engines across the country, he expected the township might continue to wait for the purchase.
“I got a phone call from the manufacturer's representative who told me that he had the last chassis to roll off the line available,” Januszyk said. “I said yes and I ran down there real quick.”

The purchase had already been approved and budgeted by members of the township board of trustees, who were well aware that the current 20-year-old fire truck needed retrofitting and updating if it could be re-certified. That, Januszyk said, can be an expensive proposition.
Januszyk has been a firefighter for 43 years and became chief in Sumpter Township in September of 2012. He said he has seen a great deal in those four decades, including a few new and not-so-new fire trucks.
The 1,000-gallon pumper truck, a Class A engine, which cost the township an estimated $297,000 was delivered last week and was then sent out for lettering and graphics. It is now operational and can be used by the 21 paid on-call fire fighters, Januszyk said. The new truck will also have an impact on local property insurance rates, he noted, more up to date fire equipment in a community usually results in lower rates for property owners.
The pandemic has not slowed the calls the township department has been receiving, another factor in his desire to ensure the new truck was purchased. Januszyk said that the department is still responding to 60 to 80 calls a month and COVID-19 has made the firefighters even more cautious about sanitizing and cleaning all the equipment, vehicles and gear used when they complete a call.
“We have a lot of precautions in place,” Januszyk, said of emergency medical runs. “We are still responding to a lot of calls, but right now, we have two guys in the truck responding until the situation can be evaluated.”