The City of Middlesboro has made significant investments to the Middlesboro Fire Department in recent weeks and that includes the purchase of two fire trucks.
“The first fire truck is kind of an unusual story,” explained Mayor Rick Nelson. “Probably about two months ago, Fire Chief Rob England came and said we’ve got trouble with our ladder truck; now, we have to have a ladder truck for the tall buildings and it helps keep our insurance rating good.”
According to Mayor Nelson, the piece that holds the ladder was having problems and the estimated cost to repair the problem was about $50,000.
“They brainstormed a little bit and since the truck was older, they got on the internet believe it or not and found a truck in Long Island,” Nelson said. “They went and looked at it and it cost about $103,000, now, a new truck costs about six to $700,000 and this truck is substantially newer than the truck they had.”
The firefighters test drove the truck and made the purchase. It was delivered to the City of Middlesboro just last week and firefighters have been conducting training on it.
“It’s a little bit different than the others and it seems to be a good truck,” Nelson explained of the new truck. “They have put lights on it and marked it with the City of Middlesboro Fire Department stickers.”
Nelson reiterated that anytime a used item is purchased, there is worry but he does feel that this was a good investment for the city.
“We are looking to sell the old previous truck,” he said. “Whoever purchases the truck will have to put the money into it to fix the piece for the ladder.”
The second fire truck was purchased through a grant that the department applied for about five or six months ago, according to Mayor Nelson.
“They applied for a grant for a pumper and didn’t think anymore about it and about a month ago, they received notification that they had received that award,” explained Nelson. “The pumper should be here in about three weeks and it is a brand new truck.”
Nelson said the City of Middlesboro has to put in about $20,000 but he is glad the city received the award and feels that the truck is also another good investment for the city.
“We are really happy about it and we are happy that we can do something to help protect our citizens and helps protect our firefighters, too,” he said. “We are going to have a real good ladder truck and a brand new pumper truck for our guys.”
Mayor Nelson explained that they were afraid to put a man on the ladder on the old truck but with the new truck it will enable them to put a man on the ladder to control the nozzle at the top and will also assist in a rescue if it is necessary.
The pumper truck is very important to the department because it enables the water hoses to have a significant amount of water pressure when fighting a fire.
Nelson also shared that the department purchased new air packs that the firefighters need when entering a burning or smoky building.
“When a firefighter goes into a burning building or a smoky building, they have an air pack and our air packs were about to expire last month, so they applied for a grant and received $188,000 grant to purchase brand new air packs for the firefighters and the air packs have a lifetime warranty on them,” he explained.
According to Nelson, the City of Middlesboro ended up getting approximately $600,000 to $700,000 worth of items and will have about a $30,000 investment.
“That is pretty good,” he said. “One thing about our fire department, I don’t think we’ve turned down in two years a request they have made to us.”
Nelson said they want to make sure that when they go out on a fire, they want to make sure that they have the equipment that they need and he feels that the department is well equipped.