Orange OKs debt exclusion for Fire Dept. equipment

  • Orange resident Oli Paoletti picks up his ballot on Monday from election workers Sue Tandy Songer, Kelly Cellana and Assistant Town Clerk Rachael Fortier in the Orange Community Center located in the Orange Armory on East Main Street. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Voting took place in the Orange Community Center located in the Orange Armory on East Main Street. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 8/24/2021 3:06:26 PM
Modified: 8/24/2021 3:06:24 PM

ORANGE — Voters gave their blessing Monday to a debt exclusion, enabling the Orange Fire Department to purchase 27 self-contained breathing apparatuses.

Townspeople voted 113 to 32 to allow Orange to exempt from Proposition 2½ provisions the cost of a bond to buy the equipment.

James Young, who has been the Orange fire chief for six years, has said it will cost $242,349 for his department to replace its 25 self-contained breathing apparatuses and buy an additional two.

He previously explained the current equipment was purchased in 2007 and there are components of that equipment that will be non-compliant with national standards by next year. Young said the equipment’s life expectancy is 15 years, and making necessary improvements would be extremely expensive and simply delay the inevitable.

“I’m just very pleased that people came out to support our efforts to get the equipment that’s vital to the health and safety of the members of our department,” Young said Tuesday following the vote.

He said he plans to finalize an order with a vendor, though he will wait until the end of September to learn if his department will receive a grant to pay for the apparatuses’ replacement. The debt exclusion is unnecessary if the grant application is successful.

“If we were to receive that grant, there would be no cost to the town at all,” Young said previously.

He said he is unsure at this time which vendor will be tapped to supply the equipment. The eventual vendor, he explained, will accept the current apparatuses as trade-in. Young said the current equipment came from Fire Tech and Safety of New England Inc. in Tyngsborough.

The self-contained breathing apparatuses are commonly referred to as air packs, which are tanks of compressed air equipped with a breathing mask to enable firefighters to breathe inside burning buildings. Young said the department currently has Scott Air-Paks.

Out of Orange’s 5,409 registered voters, 145 showed up to the Orange Armory at 135 East Main St. to vote Monday, making for a 2.68 percent voter turnout.

Reach Domenic Poli at: or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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