Fire Department acquires new vehicle

For handling emergencies on challenging terrain
Thu, 04/11/2019 - 5:30pm

The Block Island Volunteer Fire Department has purchased a new vehicle that will be utilized for off-road emergencies on Block Island’s challenging terrains. The Fire Department took receipt of the $45,000 vehicle last week, which was purchased using the department’s reserve fund.

“It is a Utility Task Vehicle, UTV, that we purchased from Alternative Support Apparatus,” said Rescue Captain Kate McConville, who noted that the Ohio-based company specializes in the manufacturing “of custom extreme off-road emergency and rescue vehicles. It is the Intimidator model, equipped with a full stretcher, side compartment for storage, and gas generator, as well. It can go on the beach and down all the island’s trails.”

Mike Lofaro, Treasurer of the Fire Department, said the vehicle will help the department “get in and out of the island’s trails” during emergency situations. Lofaro said the Fire Department paid for the vehicle with funds generated through fundraising efforts, but the title is in the town’s name. “We set up a reserve fund to pay for the department’s vehicles.”

Lofaro noted that the Fire Department had been using a vehicle shared by the New Shoreham Police Department and Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. That vehicle died, said Lofaro. “We wanted to have our own vehicle that was dedicated for our purposes. So we took the funds out of our fundraising monies to pay for it.”

“We do a lot of fundraising,” said Lofaro, noting the department’s annual appeal letters, steak fry and fishing tournament, which help augment what the department receives from the town. This year the department received $180,400 in community support from the town, an increase of $45,400 over the prior year’s budget. 

Lofaro said that last year the Fire Department purchased a new ambulance at a cost of $245,000. The town paid $178,000 for the ambulance, with the Fire Department funding $67,000 of the purchase from its fundraising monies, saving the taxpayers the expense.

According to the Alternative Support Apparatus website, which can be found at, the company is the “leading manufacturer of innovative world class off-road specialty vehicles.”