On March 9, a few hours after battling a blaze at a home on Route 220, Waldoboro Fire Chief Paul Smeltzer and the fire department crew met with selectmen and the town manager to discuss their equipment and what they need to fight fires and respond to emergencies.

Smeltzer said the town plans to put out to bid a request for a new engine truck. The new engine would not replace a current truck. There is an empty spot in the bay where there once was a 1970 Chevrolet fire engine. That truck was sold in 2008.

Several members of the Waldoboro Fire Department described to selectmen the tools of the firefighting trade.

Firefighter Tony Leo discussed a custom chassis versus a commercial chassis. Leo said a custom chassis is designed from bumper to bumper to be a fire truck. A custom chassis has rollover protection, among other safety features. The department has one commercial chassis vehicle — its 1970 International — and the last two purchases were custom vehicles. Just by looking at them, one can see that the custom chassis vehicles are of superior quality.

Selectman Robert Butler asked about the premium for a custom chassis. Leo said the range for a commercial engine truck is $180,000 to $250,000 and a custom vehicle is $250,000 to $360,000.

Firefighters Andrew Santheson and Roy Hatch discussed Pierce model fire trucks. They said Pierce builds high-quality fire trucks and has more than 40 percent of the market. If parts are needed, the department can get an exact replacement, they said.

Firefighter William Maxwell described the advantages of using compressed air foam to fight fires. He said someone can use just one hand to pick up a line filled with compressed air foam. This means the department could rely less on mutual aid. Maxwell said he hopes the new truck will have a compressed air foam system.

Selectmen and others got a tour of the fire station and the department’s vehicles.

Ladder 1 is a 1981 American LaFrance ladder truck. It has a 100-foot aerial ladder. Smeltzer said the ladder is getting more use with metal roofs. The ladder truck may be approaching 30 years, but it looks like new.

Rescue 1 is a 1983 Chevrolet four-door truck. It is tired and overloaded, Smeltzer said. He would like to see it replaced in coming years with a heavy duty truck. This would enable the department to carry equipment for water and ice rescue. Rescue 1 currently holds tools such as the Jaws of Life, a chainsaw and shovels. When there is a car accident and someone is trapped in the vehicle, Rescue 1 is the first vehicle to respond. Rescue 1 also carries blocking equipment to stabilize a car while rescue crews extract the driver.

Engine 5 is a 1955 Willys Jeep with a 50-gallon tank. It has a manual transmission and the driver needs to take care because it looks like it could roll over at high speeds.

Engine 4 is a 1977 International. One firefighter said the only good International he has seen is a farm tractor. Engine 4 has a 750-gallon tank.

Engine 3 is a 1990 Pierce-Dash with a 1,000 gallon tank. It has the capacity to empty that 1,000-gallon tank in one minute. Engine 3 has an open cab, with a jump seat in the back. Five firefighters can go to a scene on Engine 3. After getting to the fire, the driver controls the water pressure and which of the three lines are fed.

Engine 1 is a 1996 Pierce. It is similar to Engine 3 but has an enclosed cab. It also has a screen for a firefighter to remotely view a thermal imaging scan to see where there are hot spots. Engine 1 has a 1,000 gallon tank the ability to discharge 1,250 gallons per minute. There are deck guns on top of Engine 1 and Engine 3 for spraying water. Engine 3 and Engine 1 are both in great shape, and Smeltzer said the department takes pride in its equipment.

Engine 2 is notably missing from the Waldoboro Fire Department. This is what the fire chief and the town want to replace within a year.

Smeltzer said the department has a long-term goal to improve the insurance rating for the part of the town outside of the hydrant district. This rating is largely based on tank capacity. The town’s current tank capacity is 2,750 gallons of water, and a new engine could add 1,000 gallons.