NJ fire dept.’s apparatus fleet ‘in dire need of replacing’

A fire captain goes public after a fire truck had to be towed after breaking down while battling a blaze; the department is down to almost no working apparatus


HILLSIDE, N.J. — A fire department’s apparatus fleet neglect came to light after a fire truck broke down while battling a blaze April 9.

Union News Daily reported that the Hillside Fire Department’s truck had to be towed from the scene. Fire captain Jeff Albrecht, who’s also president of the Hillside Firefighter’s Mutual Benevolent Association Local No. 35, posted an announcement the day after the blaze.

“The HFMBA, Local No. 35, wants to advise the residents of Hillside of a serious matter of public safety,” the post read. “Lives are in danger. It is common knowledge that the fire department has been in dire need of replacing its aged fire apparatus for many years, with little being done. How many people drive cars from 1987 today? Not many. So why is it acceptable for the fire department to be using a 1987 fire engine for your protection?”

The department, according to the report, is down to almost no working apparatus. The department currently has one piece of apparatus – a 1992 quint.

“Using this antiquated equipment put the lives of your firefighters in danger,” Albrecht said. “This is unacceptable. The residents and taxpayers of this town deserve much better.”

Albrecht also stated that a plumbing issue at a fire station resulted in a sewer backup that dripped water onto apparatus.

A new fire truck that was purchased by the township in December had been sitting at the dealership until last week, according to the report. However, according to Albrecht, the rig doesn’t fit into the department’s two firehouses.

“There’s still no place to house it,” he said. “They’re starting to excavate behind the firehouse.”

The rig is currently housed at a local crane company.