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St. Louis fire chief says Prop 1 would help replace, repair damaged equipment

ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Fire Department said its aging firetrucks need to be replaced and firehouses leak when it rains. That's why Chief Dennis Jenkersen is asking city voters next week to approve Proposition 1.

Jenkersen said firefighters put up with broken truck parts, leaking pumps, and, on one truck, an inoperable ladder.

“This 75-foot aerial ladder is 20 years-old, it does not function,” he said. “So, this is rolling right now as just a pumper. The aerial ladder doesn't work. We’re trying to fix it, but we can’t buy all the parts for it because it is so old.”

The chief said he needs 12 new fire trucks and nine other fire vehicles.

“One (vehicle) is getting to the point of where it doesn't make economic sense to try and fix big items on it, which are going out,” he said. “Also, a lot of these parts we can’t get any more.”

In addition, a dozen firehouses need repairs. Water pours through the roof of one house every time it rains.

Chief Jenkersen said Prop 1, a $50 million bond issue, would cover city services and equipment. The fire department would get about $16 million that money. It would also provide money for the police department and repairs to city-owned buildings and bridges.

“It’s a no-cost rollover on a bond issue. It’s an old bond,” Jenkersen said. “We’re going to refinance it and continue it, but no cost whatsoever to the citizens of the city.”

Proposition 1 would require a four-sevenths majority for passage, meaning 57.15 percent of voters would have to support the measure.