Video: Calhoun County Fire Departments Need New Trucks
CALHOUN COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – Some Fire department heads in Calhoun County say they don’t have the funds to replace their fire trucks and now they’re running out of time.
The Pittsboro Fire Department is feeling the heat. Find $200k to buy a new truck or run the risk of insurance rates for homeowners and the county jumping by up to 35%.
“We’ve got a grant for part of the funds but the legislature hasn’t funded the grant yet. We’re trying any way we can to get some grants or get some money in order to purchase a truck,” says Chief Gayle Bullard with the Pittsboro Fire Department.
The state of Mississippi certifies a standard fire truck for 15 years. If a department wants an extension, the fire truck’s water pump must be tested and approved.
The extension gives the department five years to re-certify. Calhoun City is currently in an extension period but will have to buy a new truck next year. Mike Dunigan is Director of Calhoun Emergency Management and says small towns simply don’t have the budget to update their fire equipment.
“Small towns cannot afford a truck. You’re looking at $200k for a truck, an average truck. This truck here is a custom built truck and when we bought it, it was about $225k. Today it’s probably over $300k. So you’re looking at a lot of money. Fire equipment is very expensive,” says Dunigan.
If Pittsboro doesn’t receive grant money, they may have to raise water rates to pay for the truck. Bullard says they must find a way to pay for the truck because the financial impact on the community would be devastating. I
The city of Bruce says they’ll be applying for an extension this year and Vardaman still has a few years left on their truck’s original certification.