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February 2009

Bayonne Fire Department Serves by Saving City Money

As a front line piece of equipment, Bayonne's T-1 battled many fires. The most notable and perilous was a 1986 gasoline fire involving five huge refinery tanks, while serving in Bayonne's Company #2. After many hours of battling, a persistent flame refused to be doused in the fifth tank. Finally, with it's aerial fully extended, T-1 doused the stubborn fire from above.

By 1998, heavy duty use eventually began to take it's toll on the appearance and usefulness of the unit. The inevitable dents and dings built up on the cabinet doors, fenders, and bumpers. The equipment compartments, suffering from the weather and heavy use, began to deteriorate. Door hardware became less reliable.

The cab floor had some soft spots; the cab steps were a hazard. The diamond plate was worn. The truck was still a versatile, valuable piece of fire fighting equipment but, after nearly 20 years of very active duty, T-1 needed some work.

Like Chief Brennan before him, Deputy Chief Lynch put a lot of thought into the best way to allocate the city's fire-fighting dollars. When asked why his department choose to repair T-1 instead of replacing it, Deputy Chief Lynch said, "It was a matter of money: to replace it with a comparable unit would cost about $750,000." He praised T-1 as "very valuable and versatile for positioning and extinguishing fires. Bayonne is a city that carries 9 first line, 2 reserve and 4 special call vehicles, Bayonne's T-1, now serving with Company #1 has been a standout workhorse for nearly 20 years. With the necessary repairs, the 1979 Mack aerialscope will be able to serve in a front-line capacity for another year before going to reserve status for an additional five years."

Bayonne bid out the work to Valtek "The Truckbody shop" in Paterson, NJ. Valtek is the first Axalta Certified Commercial Refinisher in the area. They were able to meet Bayonne's standards for safety, quality, speed and price. While T-1 was being worked on in Valtek's spacious 20 truck bay shop, subcontractors for the wiring & auxiliary equipment were able to have access to the equipment, saving Bayonne a lot of down time. "I had a lot of confidence in Valtek's ability to deliver on their promises. They gave us great service, delivered on time and in budget and were cooperative to our needs," said Lynch.

The equipment storage compartments on both sides were extensively rebuilt to replace their corroded interiors. Expert body repair was performed on the various body imperfections and a new color was selected to replace the original lime green.

According to Deputy Chief Tom Lynch, who coordinated the repairs, improved lighting systems have increased visibility dramatically on this and other emergency units. As a result, many fire companies have returned to the more traditional red palate to replace the lime green. Bayonne's color choice for T-1 is Axalta Imron in a white over red combination. In its new red coat, T-1 will serve until October with Truck Company #1 before going on reserve, continuing to serve the city.

Bayonne Community News, Aug. 26, 1998. Reprinted by permission.

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