With No Engines, N.H. Town Relies on Mutual Aid

Mechanical challenges have left Gilford (N.H.) without a front-line engine and the ability to fight any fires. The community now has to rely solely on mutual departments for coverage.

According to an article published in The Laconia Daily Sun, Engine 2, which was manufactured in 2002, developed transmission problem on Thursday while returning from a call. Firefighters were able to “limp” the apparatus back to the station and when a crew tried to respond to another call, the engine wouldn’t go into gear. A technician later determined a sensor in the transmission failed.

The fault put the apparatus out of service and required it to be towed to a repair facility where the bell housing would be removed to do the work, according to the paper.

Engine 4, a 27-year-old back up unit is out of service and in need of a new fire pump, according to the paper.

Fire officers borrowed an engine from nearby Laconia, but were only able to keep it for overnight as that department experienced its own mechanical difficulties and needed the spare engine back to replace one of its front-line apparatus.

Town and fire officials expressed frustration in the situation as fire officers had requested a new engine in 2011, but the town’s budget committee nixed the idea and the selectmen decided to spend money repairing the existing apparatus.

In 2012, the selectmen reversed their position when they learned it wasn’t financially feasible to make the repairs to the 27-year-old engine. A special town meeting was held to buy a new apparatus was held and the three-fifths majority vote required to make the purchase failed by 10 votes, according to the newspaper.

While waiting for Engine 2 to be repaired, Gilford will respond with a tanker and the old engine and rely on mutual aid, the paper said.