By MIKE DONOGHUE,
Islander Staff Writer
NORTH HERO – The North Hero Volunteer Fire Department has received a cylinder filling station for the new air packs.
Fire Chief Mike Murdock said the North Hero department was fortunate to get a lead on a used machine from Essex.
He credited former North Hero firefighter John Dupont with helping secure the donation.
Murdock said the department is in the process of replacing 15 air packs and 30 air bottles from 2003. The department has been able to buy 10 air packs and 20 bottles for about $70,000 to start replacing the aging equipment.
The chief said he expects more will be obtain as funds become available. The equipment is essential as volunteer firefighters go into burning buildings to search for injured or trapped persons or animals and to fight fires.
With the new equipment, North Hero had to have a different way to fill its higher pressured self-contained breathing apparatus.
He said a new cylinder filling machine, which is used by the Essex Fire Department, had been obtained so the old machine was available. He said within a day or two of learning about the used machine, North Hero expressed interest, drove a truck and trailer to Essex to collect it and brought it back to North Hero for installation.
The machine had been taken apart and was re-assembled. The chief said North Hero promised Essex the machine would get a good home.
Murdock estimated that about $9,000 to $10,000 was saved on getting a used machine – and more if North Hero had opted to go with a new air filling station.