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Faulty fire trucks get four more bolts

Posted by Dresonic on April 21, 2007

ALL of the problem-plagued Rosenbauer fire trucks which were withdrawn two weeks ago because of safety concerns are expected to be retrofitted with an additional four bolts and put back into service by next week.

Harry Douglas, the junior minister in the Ministry of Local Government, told the Observer yesterday that 12 of the trucks have already been retrofitted and are now back in service, with a further three expected to be done by today.
He said all the repaired trucks have since been passed by the Island Traffic Authority.

Minister of Information Donald Buchanan (left) ‘test out the ride’ on this reconditioned fire engine which was donated by Rennie Wellington (right), managing director of JR Group to the Black River Fire Brigade at a handing over ceremony in Kingston yesterday. Also taking part in the occasion is divisional head of St Elizabeth Fire Department Senior Deputy Superintendent Homer Morris (second left) and Minister of State in the Ministry of Local Government Harry Douglas. (Photo: Lionel Rookwood)

“By the end of next week all will be back into service,” Douglas told journalists during a donation of a truck by the JR Group to the St Elizabeth Fire Department yesterday. The handing over was done at JR’s office in Kingston.
Commissioner of the Jamaica Fire Brigade Frederick Whyte, who expressed satisfaction at the work already done on the trucks, said the four extra bolts should be adequate enough to stabilise the body of the units.

The trucks, Whyte said, came with four clamps because they were built according to United States’ standards where they have better roads, but they were not suitable for local terrain.

The modifications to the trucks follow recommendations issued by government that the company should increase the number of bolts holding the body of the remaining 23 pumpers to their chassis.
The recommendation were made after a fire truck assigned to the Santa Cruz Fire Station broke loose last month, separating the body of the truck from its frame. The incident injured the six firefighters who were aboard and raised questions about the quality of the vehicles.

When they were bought last year, each of the Rosenbauer America trucks and their accompanying spare parts cost the government US$260,000.
The truck donated to the fire service yesterday, St Elizabeth was presented with a ‘low profile pumper’ truck which was donated by JR Group.

The 1989 re-conditioned fire truck donated by the JR Group yesterday, has a 1,200 gallon water tank, and has a 400-horsepower caterpillar engine.
Rennie Wellington, managing director of the JR Group, said the truck which was sourced from Canada at a cost of C$30,000 has been used in numerous forest fires in Red Deer, as it was built to endure hilly terrain.

He said he decided to donate a third truck to the Jamaican Fire Brigade after he was contacted by Information Minister Donald Buchanan who requested he source the truck for the parish where they both grew up.

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