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Year-long suit for Charleston fire department over trucks may be settled
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Year-long suit for Charleston fire department over trucks may be settled

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CFD Trucks 09/17/18

Charleston Fire Department firefighters/paramedics Beau Goodwin, left, and Kyle Keefer, right, check gear on a fire truck at Fire Station 2 in Charleston on Monday.

CHARLESTON -- A settlement between the city and a fire truck manufacturer and a distributor has been made and is now on the table for a vote at the City Council meeting today. 

Last year, Charleston joined several other cities in the area in a dispute against Pierce Manufacturing, Inc. and Global Fire Equipment, Inc. claiming that they violated the terms of the warranty on the fire trucks they had made for the cities.

Charleston purchased two fire trucks in the early 2000s over a five-year period from the company, the JG-TC reported previously. 

Tim Meister, Charleston Fire Department assistant fire chief, said at the time that there is a lifetime warranty on the frame of the fire trucks for rust and corrosion damage, and currently, all three have varying degrees of rust on the frame.

The city claimed that the company has not repaired or replaced the frames even though it is spelled out in the warranty to do so.

After some back and forth between attorneys involved in the discussions, a tentative agreement has been made, said Deborah Muller, city clerk.

Charleston fire Chief Steve Bennett said one fire truck would get an entirely new rail and another truck would get repairs to the existing rail on the truck in the settlement. 

Bennett said the trucks would be sent in for repair and replacement one at a time with a "loaner" truck sent to them. He said the fire department's services would not be hindered during the process. 

Other terms of the agreement include:

  • Charleston paying $13,333 for the frame rail replacement, receiving credit of equal value to be used toward other Pierce repairs and trucks from Pierce.
  • Pierce will pickup and deliver the trucks from the city.
  • Pierce will pay attorney costs.
  • Pierce will provide recommended written maintenance practices and service bulletins regarding maintenance.
  • Pierce will continue to honor existing warranties on the trucks

Today, council members will vote on whether they accept the new terms of the agreement at their meeting set for 6:30 p.m. at Charleston City Hall, 520 Jackson Ave. 

The settlement included in the meeting documents did not include that of the other cities involved in the dispute. As previously reported in the JG-TC, the cities of Charleston, Champaign, Decatur, Normal, Bloomington, Peoria and Ottawa were involved. More recently, Bloomington backed out of the dispute

Bennett noted he is relieved to see this issue come to a close. He said the corrosion damage to the frames does not present a safety risk at this time, but they are evident. 


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Contact Jarad Jarmon at (217) 238-6839. Follow him on Twitter: @JJarmonReporter

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Reporter

Jarad Jarmon is a reporter for the JG-TC. He covers the city of Charleston, Eastern Illinois University, Mattoon schools and the Regional Office of Education.

Related to this story

No lawsuit was filed regarding a fire truck frame warranty dispute between the City of Charleston and Pierce Manufacturing, Inc. A settlement …

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