South Thomaston asks voter OK to replace dying ambulance

By Stephen Betts | Sep 15, 2019

South Thomaston — South Thomaston residents will be asked later this month to approve spending money to replace an ambulance that can no longer be relied on to get patients to the hospital.

A special town meeting has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25.

The town has attempted to repair the 9-year-old ambulance, but both the dealership and diesel mechanics have been unable to fix the problem with the engine that resulted in the vehicle's dying in the middle of the road Aug. 16.

Town Administrator Owen Casas said the problem experienced by the town is similar to one that Rockland had a few years ago with the same type of ambulance. He said Ford is no longer manufacturing the engine because of problems with it.

The South Thomaston ambulance has fewer than 40,000 miles on it, but the warranty has expired. The town purchased the 2010 Ford Diesel E-450XL in March 2011 and it was put into service the following month.

Casas said town officials were already planning to ask voters to replace the vehicle either in 2020 or 2021 before the problems developed.

At a meeting between the Select Board and the ambulance director Aug. 21, the board voted to hold the special town meeting and "seek approval for a replacement on an accelerated basis with a high sense of urgency."

An information meeting was held Sept. 9.

The cost of the new vehicle proposed by the town -- a 2019 Ford F450 Super Duty 4 by 4 -- is $199,864.

The money could come from the ambulance reserve fund ($67,500) and a loan from the fire truck reserve fund ($132,364).

(The article has been updated. The initial version incorrectly listed the expected cost of the new ambulance and proposed funding sources.)

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