I-Team finds faulty fire trucks in Sylvania Twp. - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

I-Team finds faulty fire trucks in Sylvania Twp.

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SYLVANIA TOWNSHIP, Ohio -

Imagine spending over a million dollars on something, only to have it start falling apart a few years later. The 13abc I-Team has learned that's exactly what's happening in Sylvania Township.

Voters approved money for new fire trucks in 2008, and now the township wants that money back, calling the trucks lemons. 

It was a hard fought levy campaign.  Fighting for better fire protection in Sylvania and Sylvania township.  The effort was successful and some new fire trucks were purchased. The success of the trucks is not as promising so far. 

For just under $1.2 million you might expect perfection but that's not the case.  In fact Sylvania Township is suing Kovach Mobile Equipment, KME, the maker of the three pumper trucks for these issues among others:

Paint, chipping and cracking; corrosion on the chassis frame; the exhaust system falling apart and hanging down; a faulty latching system when this cab is lowered

The I-Team has learned of even more problems listed in this lawsuit.  Probably the most serious when it comes to safety are the "seatbelt warning switches."  That's a detector that tells the driver that the rest of the fire fighters are buckled in safely.  If they're actually buckled in, but the detector does not reflect that, valuable time could be lost if they're headed on a run. 

Sylvania township says in its lawsuit these trucks "… have been unserviceable since the day of delivery, as a direct result and proximate result of KME's failure to design, manufacture or produce new, serviceable and functional pumper trucks…"

Neither the township nor KME will appear on camera or do an interview with the I-Team because this is tied up in federal court.  So the I-Team took the temperature of residents with a stop at Chandler's Cafe. 

"It's devastating and I'm sorry it happened," said Sylvania resident Connie Ward.    

"I don't think it's good if we've spent that much money," said Sylvania resident Penny O'Brien.

"If something you purchase is not what it was supposed to be, you have every right to reclaim some of that," said Sylvania resident Noreen Wright.    

The problematic discoveries found all over these trucks have forced to the township to not only ask for its money back but the over $50,000 in repairs already put into these things.  It all comes to a grand total of $1,245,782.

The lawsuit says, "Sylvania Township also provided KME a reasonable opportunity to cure the nonconformities…"

"I'm in favor of my people who are in charge in the township and that they'll do the right think to take care of it," said Wright 

KME has countered the township on all of its claims.  The first citing the lemon law.  KME says lemon law only applies to motor vehicles and state law says a vehicle is defined several ways but  "… does not mean…. And vehicles that belong to any police department, municipal fire department…" 

The township also cites breach of warranty.  KME says "…the disclaimer in this case makes clear that 'there are no warranties which extend beyond the face of the agreement." 

Finally the township invokes a consumer protection law that addresses warranty. KME says these are clearly not for consumer use.  In the lawsuit it says, "It is well established that the normal use of a fire truck is not for family, personal, or household purposes."

"I think there has got to be a way to have companies to stand behind their products," said Ward.    

"It came out of our taxes, but if it came out of my personal money, I would do the same thing.  It has to be rectified and made right," said O'Brien.

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