Some 36 fire trucks on a request list being considered for funding by the provincial government are reported in poor condition, The Telegram has learned.
Nearly 70 towns and communities have applied for new vehicles. Only a fraction of those will actually get funding from the Department of Municipal Affairs in cost-sharing formulas that range from an 80-20 split to a 90-10 split.
The provincial government pays the bigger share.
The vehicle requests list was obtained from Fire and Emergency Services NL, a division of Municipal Affairs, this week.
Decisions on which trucks will get approved have not been made.
Last Monday, volunteer firefighter Rob Fisher of Northern Arm left Confederation Building to walk to his central Newfoundland town to raise awareness about the fire department needing a new truck.
The town's fire department has a used a former home oil delivery truck that isn't always reliable.
On the 2010-11 list, that truck is listed in poor condition, but it's far from alone.
Isle aux Mort fire Chief Sidney Scott joined the department about the same time his town got its first truck - 31 years ago.
It is a five-tonne GMC with a tank and pump fitted on the back of it.
"She hasn't got a lot of miles, but the biggest problem is buying parts," said Scott in a telephone interview.
The department takes care of it as best it can, but is hoping for a replacement before it breaks down for good.
It was a different story in 1979 when the truck was delivered to the town.
"We thought we had the world," said Scott, recalling how the truck came with 10 firefighting suits, helmets and other gear.
Even though it wasn't enough for the 20 members of the department, they were glad to have the equipment.
The town of 900 now has 25 firefighters and has received a list of equipment from Fire and Emergency Services that is outdated and must be replaced, Scott said.
That includes two breathing apparatus at $5,000 a piece.
Ken Hartery, chief of the Trepassey Fire Department, said his town has applied for a new pumper the past three years and hopes this year will be the charm.
The department's three vehicles are all reported in poor condition.
"The old truck, she's working," he said of the 1974 International pumper.
"But anything could happen. We'd like to get a new one so that's one worry we don't have."
The town - a two-hour drive from St. John's - acquired a 1980s pickup truck from Kent's Pond, but the undercarriage is rusted out, he said.
Trepassey has only applied for a new pumper.
Hartery said the clutch went on the pumper before he joined the department and it took months to track one down.
Other towns are seeking to supplement their services.
Harbour Grace has five vehicles, including a pumper, van and pickup that it has told government are in poor condition, according to the list.
Besides a new pumper, the town is seeking a heavy rescue vehicle and a hovercraft.
Mayor Don Coombs said his area is growing and the department has gotten into cliff climbing and high angle rescue, and wants to be prepared because of past tragedies.
According to Fire and Emergency Services NL, 11 trucks were allocated in the last fiscal year at a cost of $2.2 million, one of which has not been assigned.
Half were from the 1970s and the newest was a 1986 model, except Baie Verte, which lost everything in a fire at the town's fire hall.
Budget 2010 increased the funding for capital equipment to $2.5 million a year for the next four years.
It's unknown exactly how much more the extra money will buy per year as firefighting vehicles vary in cost. A ladder truck is three times the cost of a pumper or tanker.
According to the division, age and condition is part of the decision-making process, but also whether the equipment services more than one community and where the next fire department is located. Training and the type of storage facilities are also factors.
In an e-mail statement, Municipal Affairs Minister Dianne Whalen said the announcements on new trucks and tender calls are expected to happen this summer.
Although there are some 36 vehicles listed in poor condition, not all those are requested to be replaced.
In addition to those in poor condition, more than 30 vehicles in the departments applying for funding are listed in fair condition.
Others are listed in good to excellent condition.
Among the almost 70 towns that have applied for new vehicles to Fire and Emergency Services Newfoundland and Labrador, the following trucks were reported to be in poor condition by the fire departments that operate them.
Community Current Equipment Equipment Requested
Buchans (1981) Rescue Rescue Van
Burin (1989) C30 Auxilliary Cube Van
Carbonear (1978) American LaFrance Ladder
(1983) GMC 7000 Pumper Pumper/Aerial
Carmanville (1994) Pickup
(1994) Van Tanker - Spec. 5
Channel-Port aux Basques (1983) Bus Cube Va
Clarenville (1974) Tanker Pumper - Spec. 8A
Cox's Cove (1983) Chev Pumper Pumper - Spec. 8B
Embree (1972) Ford Pickup Auxilliary
(1984) Ford Pumper Pumper - Spec. 8B
Forteau (1974) Chev Pumper
(1994) Chev Pickup Auxilliary Pumper
Glenwood (1973) Ford Pumper Pumper - Spec. 8B
Hampden (1981) GMC Pumper Pumper - Spec. 8B
Harbour Grace (1982) Ford F800 Pumper Heavy Rescue Vehicle
(1985) Ford Van Auxilliary Hovercraft
(1993) GMC Pickup Pumper Spec. 8A
Harbour Main (1979) Van Cube Ban
Isle aux Morts (1979) Pumper Fire Truck
Massey Drive (1968) Ford Pumper Pumper - Spec. 8B
Meadows (1995) Intermediate Pumper - Spec. 8A
Musgrave Harbour (1985) Van Pumper
Norman's Cove - Long Cove (1990) Rescue
(1973) Tanker Rescue van
Northern Arm (1979) Cube Van
(1985) Chev Tanker Tanker - Spec. 5
Peterview (1973) Pumper
(1979) Ford van
(1971) Pumper (obsolete) Cube Van
Placentia (1992) Ford Pickup Aerial/Pumper
Stephenville (1984) Pumper Pumper - Spec. 8A
Trepassey (1990) Ford C800 Pumper
(1974) International Pumper Pumper - Spec. 8B
Upper Island Cove (1995) Ford 4x4 Pickup
Source: Fire and Emergency Services Newfoundland