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    Dispute keeps fire tanker parked
    Lafayette needs title to $174,000 vehicle
    Thursday, November 03, 2005
    BY JIM LOCKWOOD
    Star-Ledger Staff
    Lafayette Fire Department's brand new $174,000 tanker truck arrived in May with all the necessary equipment for such a 3,000-gallon vehicle.

    The only thing missing was a piece of paper, albeit a vital one -- the owner's title, town officials said. The company that supplied the truck won't release the title, township officials said.

    Since the untitled tanker arrived, it has remained parked in a garage while the town has been caught up in a financial dispute between New Lexington Fire Equipment of Rockwood, Pa., which provided the truck, and that firm's subcontractor, Tri County Motor Sales of Johnstown, Pa. -- which supplied the chassis.


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    Lafayette now has filed a lawsuit to get the title.

    In a civil complaint filed last week in Superior Court in Newton, Lafayette names as defendants New Lexington, Tri County and the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. The lawsuit seeks a court order to have the MVC issue a title instead of New Lexington or Tri County.

    "We got the truck in May," said Lafayette Mayor John D'Angeli. "It's just sitting down there (at the firehouse) and they (firefighters) won't take it out until it's registered."

    Funding for the truck came from $12.4 million in federal funds distributed in 2003 to fire departments throughout New Jersey by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for various necessities, upgrades or training.

    In rural areas like Lafayette, fire departments rely on tankers to haul water to fire scenes. The Lafayette Fire Department received $122,767 toward the purchase of a new 3,000-gallon tanker truck to replace a 33-year-old, high-mileage water tanker that was formerly a garbage truck.

    The new truck, a 2005 International stainless steel tanker, was purchased through public bidding in April 2004. New Lexington won the contract and ordered the chassis (frame, cab, engine, wheels) from Tri County. New Lexington installed the tank and "all the bells and whistles" onto the chassis, said Township Attorney Roy Kurnos.

    Lafayette paid for the truck in payments, and the truck is "paid in full," the lawsuit says. However, Lafayette did not know that New Lexington owed Tri County money for the chassis, and that Tri County was refusing to release the title, the lawsuit states.

    "They (New Lexington) delivered the truck to Lafayette with the keys and warranties," Kurnos said. "The fire department thought the title was there with all the papers. It turned out the title wasn't in the papers."

    New Lexington committed "legal fraud" against Lafayette, states the lawsuit, which seeks compensatory and punitive damages and attorney fees.

    "Lafayette should not be held hostage to this dispute or New Lexington's wrongful conduct (and) prevented from registering and using a firetruck which it has paid for and requires for public safety," the lawsuit states.

    New Lexington and Tri County could not be reached for comment.

    Meanwhile, the old tanker is still in service.

    "Fortunately, we haven't had much (fire) action," D'Angeli said. "You learn by your mistakes; hindsight is wonderful. Next time we'll say we want a title before you get a check."


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    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    thats gonna leave a mark !!!!!!!!! YOUCH !
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

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