NEWPORT, Maine — The Newport Fire Department was awarded a $196,315 grant from the Department of Homeland Security for a new firetruck on Wednesday.
“We’re pretty excited. We’ve needed it,” Fire Chief Jeff Chretien said.
Chretien said the funds will help the town purchase a new tanker truck. The 26-year-old truck the town currently has needs replacing, he said.
“The tanker we have is truly on its last leg. We weren’t sure we’d get another year out of it,” said EMS Director Amanda Chretien, who is Jeff Chretien’s wife. “[The current tanker was] actually an oil delivery truck when we got it. We modified it into a tanker.”
Amanda Chretien said the current tanker has 387,607 miles on it.
Town Manager James Ricker said Newport has been waiting three years for a grant to replace the truck. He said he’s excited for the grant.
“It’s the first truck we’ve received a federal grant for,” Ricker said. He added that the town will have to raise 5 percent of the grant, or about $10,000. “The town of Newport will have a truck that will last 20-plus years.”
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is a critical source of funds for local fire and rescue personnel.
“These funds have been invaluable to fire departments throughout the nation and here in Maine,” Collins said in a statement. “Our firefighters put their lives on the line at every call to save others and protect property, whether in a single house fire or in a widespread disaster. They need good equipment, adequate staffing, intensive training, and public support to do their job. We owe them all a debt of gratitude and we must continue to work to help ensure that they are kept as safe as possible as they protect each of us.”
The Newport Fire Department provides coverage to Newport and Palmyra and mutual aid to Corinna, Etna, Dixmont, Carmel, Detroit and Stetson as well as structure fire assistance to Plymouth.