FARMINGTON — Selectmen on Tuesday night approved spending $4,196.43 for a new compressor to fill self-contained breathing apparatus and selling the current one.

The money, part of which is the town’s 5% match from a federal grant for a compressor, will come from the Fire Rescue Department’s equipment reserve account.

Fire Rescue Chief Timothy “TD” Hardy said the department requested an Assistance to Firefighters grant of $95,000 to $100,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to buy a 7,000 psi compressor, but the town received $71,428.57, which required a $3,571.43 match from the town. In all, it amounted to $75,000.

Thinking the compressor was out of reach for that amount, bids were requested for a range of compressor sizes.

Four companies submitted offers of between $53,000 and $77,000, with the lower ones for 6,000 psi compressors, Hardy said.

Only two companies make 7,000 psi compressors, he said. HSE fire/safety equipment of Lewiston bid $77,625 for one, which Hardy recommended.


“Our SCBA bottles are 5,500 psi,” he said. “The compressor actually makes more pressure to begin with so we won’t have to run the compressor to keep those bottles full. We have been working our compressor quite hard for the last few years.”

Using the holding rack from the current system will knock $2,000 off the price, making it $75,625, he said.

“It is $625 over what the grant was awarded for when we talked about it last year,” he said. “We figure overall it is a better, simpler unit. It is real high end, has good warranty, service right here in Maine.”

The compressor comes with a two-year warranty and he hopes it will last 20 years.

“Anywhere in that 15 to 20 years range is pretty good,” he said.

“The lowest bid isn’t always the best,” Selectman Stephan Bunker said.

Selectmen also gave permission to sell the current compressor and associated equipment and put the money in the equipment reserve account.

Hardy has spoken with dealers and been given verbal offers around $2,000 for the compressor and associated equipment.  If it receives $3,000 to $5,000, the department would be doing well, he said.

That would cover the $4,196.43, or “pretty close to that,” Selectman Dennis O’Neil said.

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