Supervisors OK $14K Replacement to FDMT Ladder

A busted waterway pipe on Ladder 18 needs to be replaced versus rewelded and repaired, per request of Director of Fire Services Rick Lesniak

Ever since a mutual aid fire call in Horsham on July 25, 2012, Fire Department of Montgomery Township's Ladder 18 has had to take a break from its extinguishing part of its purpose and be used for its ladder and equipment.

On that day, during the fire, pressure built up in the lower portion of the waterway, causing the flange to split from the pipe. 

The waterway, according to Director of Fire Services Rick Lesniak, is attached to the ladder portion of Ladder 18 and allows water to be sprayed to a height of 95 feet.

"We can't use (Ladder 18) to extinguish fires or prevent the spread of fire from elevated positions," Lesniak told Montgomery Township Supervisors Monday night. 

Out of five companies, Bergey's Fire Equipment in Souderton was chosen as the company to replace the entire waterway at a cost of $14,186.

There were two options presented to fix the waterway: Reweld and test it at a low-end cost of around $1,944 or replace the entire assembly for about a high-end price of $15,144.

Lesniak said the replacement option came with a one-year warranty on materials and workmanship. The reweld option had a limited 30- to 90-day warranty.

The 2012 Montgomery Township budget included $25,000 for FDMT vehicle maintenance.

However, as of August 30, the remaining balance is around $7,000.

Money's going to have to come from somewhere to cover the difference.

"The cost of replacement of this expenditure will, if authorized, require a budget amendment to the fire fund, which will be formalized in October with the third-quarter budget amendment," Lesniak said. 

Lesniak said the replacement is the better option because "Ladder 18 is expected to serve Montgomery Township for at least the next 10 years."

Bergey's agreed to perform a pressure test on the waterway to ensure proper operation following the replacement. 


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