By Kelly Brough

PEPPERELL — Members of the Pepperell Fire Department will head down to Meyersdale, Pa., at the end of this month and then ride back in a shiny new front-line pumper.

Last June, voters approved a $350,000 debt-exclusion proposal to pay for the new fire engine, and it is just about ready to be brought home. The truck will replace a 1984 model that is slowly meeting its demise.

“It will be good to get the truck,” said Deputy Chief Peter Shattuck. “The other truck is getting tired. It’s 27 years old and it has served its purpose.”

The debt exclusion means that for the next 10 years, the average property owner in Pepperell, whose home is assessed at $300,000, will pay another $10 in property taxes until the cost of the new truck is accounted for.

The reason it was decided to take this approach was because it was a large amount of money coming out of the operational budget. Judging by the results of the election, it seems that residents feel it is important to invest in public safety.

“We’ve worked really hard for this and the Fire Department is grateful to the residents for helping us with the purchase of this truck,” said Shattuck.

According to Shattuck, he and Fire Capt. Milt Blood have already inspected the truck and have approved its design. They intend to bring it into town at the end of February, at which point department members will be trained on the new equipment and the truck soon after it’s put into service.

“Every truck is different. This one is a front-line pumper, which means it will be the first truck out on the scene,” said Shattuck.

What is interesting is that when they pick up the new truck later this month, it will be red, and only red.

“We’re having Jeff Cook with Sites and Signs doing the lettering for us at a much more reasonable price that we could get from the firetruck contractor. We’re saving quite a bit of money,” said Shattuck.

The company that the Fire Department is working with is called “4 Guys” based out of Meyersdale. The company was initiated by four men, as you may have guessed, in 1974. Since then, they have been supplying fire departments with custom-built, stainless steel fire trucks that are backed with a 30-year body warranty.

The Pepperell Fire Department operates two stations in town and has seven running fire engines. They include a pumping truck, a tanker, a ladder truck and brush trucks. The new front line pumper will replace the existing one.