Two 210-foot aerial trucks and one pumper truck were dedicated by Mayor David Roberts and Fire Chief John Cassesa.
"Hoboken has one of the most sophisticated fire departments in the state, both in terms of training and modern equipment," said Mayor David Roberts at the ceremony Thursday. "Today we are furthering this mission with the delivery of these new vehicles."
The aerial truck and pumper were funded through a $713,568 municipal bond issue that passed the City Council in Roberts' first year as mayor. According to Cassesa, the two trucks are replacing outdated fire trucks from the early 1980s. "The older trucks, one from 1983 and the other from 1984, have outlived their usefulness, and it is time for them to be replaced," said Cassesa.
He added that the old trucks will remain on the Fire Department's inventory and will be kept as spares.
The second aerial was funded through an insurance settlement stemming from a chemical spill at the now closed Cognis Chemical Plant. On Friday, Oct. 4, 2002 at about 11 p.m., a leak developed in a storage facility at the Cognis plant. The storage building held one 5,000 and one 20,000-gallon tank of chlorosulfonic acid. When chlorosulfonic acid comes in contact with water, it is converted into hydrochloric acid. It rained that Friday and Saturday night, causing moisture to mix with the chemicals, which produced a chemical reaction.
The spill sent seven firefighters to the hospital and severely damaged one of the departments' ladder trucks. As part of the settlement, Cognis' insurance company paid for a brand new aerial truck. The new truck replaces one that was commissioned in 1997.
According to city officials, these three new fire trucks will join a new Hazardous Materials vehicle and a water rescue boat that were purchased by the city earlier this year.
Committed to new firehouse
In other fire department news, Mayor Roberts restated his commitment to building a central firehouse. The City Council recently restructured the city's debt. Originally the restructuring included $15 million in capital improvements projects, one of which was $5 million to build a central firehouse. But before the measure was approved, the council removed the capital improvement items.
"I want the public to know that this administration is still committed to building a central firehouse," said Roberts.
According to the mayor, the firehouse most likely would be built at 722 Grand St., the property which the Environmental Protection Agency just recently finished decontaminating for mercury. Drasheff added that building a central firehouse would allow the city to close the outdated firehouses at Eighth and Clinton and Second and Jefferson. The station on Observer Highway and 1313 Washington St. would remain open.