Durlach-Mount Airy getting new engine

By on February 1, 2012

By: JACQUELINE WATSON Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

John Martin Jr. of the Durlach-Mount Airy Fire Company gave Clay Township an update and some good news at the Clay Township board of supervisors meeting last month.

The fire company has selected and purchased a fire engine that should be active by March or April. This purchase was necessitated by the fact that the fire company’s current engine was considered antiquated and unsafe. One of the safety concerns is the fact that the old engine has an open cab which would be unsafe for the firefighters in the event of a vehicular accident. This concern was especially apparent whenever the engine had to travel the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Martin commented on the concern.

"When you’re going up there with lights and sirens and there are tractor trailers passing you like you’re looking for a parking space, I have a problem with that," he said.

The Durlach-Mount Airy Fire Company has been working toward the purchase of a replacement engine for more than a year. The selection was made after much research and fundraising. The fire company was able to find a demonstration engine which met their criteria. Purchasing a demo engine saved the fire company between $80,000 and $100,000. The engine selected will cost the fire company just under $400,000.

"We wanted to buy something that we knew we could afford on our own without having to come to you people," Martin commented.

What will be done with the old engine was a topic that naturally arose from the subject of the new purchase. The Durlach-Mount Airy Fire Company has been discussing different options, but is currently inclined towards keeping the old engine. According to Martin, the old engine would not fetch a good price if sold and could still have uses for the fire company such as for a second engine and driver training.

Martin also informed the board that within the next ten years, a new tanker will also be needed for the fire company. Martin suggested the possibility of the Clay Township supervisors earmarking special funds in future years to help pay off the new engine. It was pointed out that the sooner the new engine is paid off, the sooner a more suitable tanker can be purchased. Although Clay Township makes a contribution to the Durlach-Mount Airy Fire Company, there is no fire tax. The fire company is supported by donations and money from fundraising events.

Martin expressed his hope that things continue this way.

"That’s something I want to try to avoid. I really don’t want to see a fire tax." Martin continued. "We get great support from our community through our fund-raisers and our fund drive. I don’t want to mess with that. I think we have a good rapport with the people and that means a lot."

The fire company is trying to deal with their equipment needs and possessions frugally as they continue to serve the community.

Two residents from Wildflower pond were present at the meeting to question the board on the status of curb and sidewalk repairs and road dedication within the development. Resident Rick Bernarduci informed the board that certain areas of sidewalk in the development where repairs were requested were still in need of fixing. Township Engineer Bob Lynn agreed to check into the matter.

In regards to Bernarduci’s inquiry on the status of road dedication in Wildflower Pond, Township Solicitor Jennifer Meija answered, "Not very close, we haven’t heard anything."

There are still several details that need to be completed such as the switch of the homeowner’s association from the developer to the residents. These are details for which the township is dependent on the developer to complete. Meija mentioned that she had e-mailed council for the developer and was waiting for a response, but would try again to contact them. More CLAY TWP., page A16

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