The Hillsdale City Council gave their approval Monday night for the city’s fire department to purchase a new compressor for their breathing air filling station.
The Hillsdale Daily News reports that the current compressor failed during a fire call last week. The breakdown comes after more than 20 years of use, and firefighters are, at present, unable to fill their breathable air tanks.
The compressor is the active part of the full system. It pumps air into large, high-pressure air tanks that store it until the small, wearable tanks need to be filled.
Last week’s incident was just the latest in a series of compressor failures, and Chief Scott Hephner says they had been servicing the unit for several years because the department didn’t have the money to replace it outright. The previous breakdown resulted in a temporary fix because the service technicians weren’t sure replacement parts were available for that model. The same company looked at the current problem Monday and said that they were unable to “band-aid the band-aid.”
Money for the replacement has already been budgeted as part of the city’s 10-year public safety capital improvement plan, with $55,000 set aside for such needs. The new compressor will cost $21,719, and will take 6 to 10 weeks to deliver and install. Hephner told the council that the long delay is why he brought the need before them Monday night on an emergency basis.
The Daily News notes that the new compressor will not create any financial hardship for the fire department or the city, as plans call for the purchase of another fire engine several years from now.