Missing West Ossipee fire truck not missing after all


May 05, 2011
OSSIPEE — Several recent meetings of the West Ossipee Fire Precinct Commissioners have been consumed, in large part, by questions about a missing fire truck. As it turns out, as announced at their May 2 meeting, the fire truck isn't missing after all but has been sitting apparently untouched in South Carolina.

Commissioner Greg Howard had delivered a packet of information to Carroll County Sheriff's Department to investigate the fire commissioners' concern that the fire truck, former Engine 3, had been taken out of state to be sold without permission of the past commissioners. Several audience members in past meetings were adamant that the issue needed to be addressed by law enforcement officials. They said if there was no contract between the precinct and a broker to sell the truck, it should be considered stolen property. The sheriff's department has closed the case and confirmed that the truck was not stolen and is not missing.

Recently, the commissioners have received a bill for nearly $1,000, the cost to return the truck to New Hampshire. Commissioner Howard spelled out the chain of events, stating the commissioners had given "passive" permission for the former fire chief to dispose of the fire engine. Chief Brad Eldridge worked with a broker who normally specializes in the sale of other fire equipment, not usually trucks, who had first intended to buy it himself but then decided not to and would act as a broker instead. The engine was driven from Ossipee to South Carolina as the broker felt the chances of selling it in the southern part of the country would be better. Additionally, it was advertised on used fire equipment Web sites for sale.

Commissioner Howard read from the police report findings from the sheriff's office. The truck has been located in the location the commissioners were informed it was, appears to be in a covered location, unmoved "as there is no grass growing under it."

Commissioners are now charged with deciding what to do with the truck. Rather than paying to have it returned to New Hampshire, they will be exploring ways to sell it as is or sell it for the scrap metal and will be attempting to locate scrap metal dealers and junkyards in South Carolina that would be willing to purchase it for scrap. The engine has been unused by West Ossipee Fire Department for nearly two years.

When Engine 3 went away, the precinct purchased Engine 4, another used truck that was expected to last three or four years. Last month it was taken out of service due to cracked frame rails. Department members were instructed Monday night to remove all useable equipment off the truck and the decision will be made whether to sell the engine as is or sell this engine for scrap as well.

In other apparatus news, the department's airboat that has been out of service since July 3, 2009 after crashing in the Bearcamp River while attempting to rescue a man in an overturned canoe, has been repaired. The commissioners approved installation of new communications equipment to be installed on the boat. After a formal training program to train other members in its operation, the boat will be placed back into service, hopefully in time for the busy summer season.

Purchasing Policy

After nearly two hours combined discussion, the commissioners voted to change their purchasing policy. Effective May 2, all purchases for items or services exceeding $9,000 will be going out to bid or request for proposal. Previously, that dollar amount had been set at $2,000.

Resignations

It was announced at Monday's meeting that after being on the fire department since 2003 as the photographer and support staff and serving as its secretary since 2005, Mellisa Ferland resigned her position effective May 6. Xann Teryek will temporarily fill the secretary position as commissioners work to redefine roles and responsibilities of department staff.

West Ossipee Budget Committee representative Roland Millette, who has served that role for five years, also resigned his position last night. "It has been my pleasure to serve, and I'd be more than happy to assist the new representative in any way I can with this transition," his letter stated. Commissioner Paul Jay agreed to accept the position after nomination by his fellow commissioners.

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