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New fire truck added to Monticello’s fleet

MONTICELLO — The mayor and board of aldermen have accepted anew $283,000 pumper to bolster the Monticello Fire Department’sfire fighting ability.

MONTICELLO — The mayor and board of aldermen have accepted anew $283,000 pumper to bolster the Monticello Fire Department’sfire fighting ability.

“We’re extremely proud of our new truck,” said Mayor DavidNichols at the Wednesday ceremony. “We feel our department now hasthe equipment needed to perform their jobs to the best of theirduty. We now have some of the finest equipment to go with some ofthe best-trained firefighters in Mississippi.”

The town approved the specifications and purchase of the truckin July 1999, Harrison said. It took 13 months to build, equip anddeliver the state-of-the-art pumper. The truck was built byEmergency One of Ocala, Fla., and acquired through Sunbelt FireApparatus, Inc.

“We purchased this truck without any additional taxes,” saidFire Chief Wayne Harrison. “We’re paying it off with state rebatemoney and a $50,000 state grant.”

The truck can pump 1,250 gallons per minute from a 750 galloncapacity tank. It is powered by a heavy duty Cummins ISC 330 HPengine.

“The unit is equipped with the latest and most modern firefighting features available for use today,” Harrison said. “Theapparatus body is made from aluminum, which will eliminate damagefrom rust and extend usage life. The custom Cyclone II tilt chassisis equipped with an enclosed four door cab, which will protect fourfiremen who are belted in the jump seats.”

Dave Milton, sales representative for E-One, said the Cyclone IIcab has already proved its life-saving abilities.

“The cab has the maximum rollover capacity available and hasrecently saved lives in Natchez and Tupelo during rolloveraccidents there,” Milton said. “There is not a safer, better builtfire truck in the industry. This is a premium, top-of-the-linetruck.”

The truck will help increase the department’s response time,Harrison said. Before it arrived, the department had to roll twotrucks to every fire to have the necessary equipment available.This was tough to do with only one full-time firefighter on duty ata time. The new truck has the capacity to carry all of theirequipment.

The department will continue to automatically dispatch twotrucks for certain types of fires, such as house fires, Harrisonsaid, but many fires will only see the new truck.

Harrison said the department will keep Engines 1 and 2, a 1993and 1985 1,000 gallon pumper, to be used as needed and foradditional support.

“I don’t know of another department our size that has this manynew trucks,” Harrison said. “The mayor and board of aldermen havereally supported this fire department.”

The new truck is only part of the changes expected at the firedepartment to improve service, Harrison said.

“The mayor wants to go to a Class 6 rating inside of the citylimits,” the chief said. “There were three steps for us to make todo that. This was the first and we’ve already accomplished thesecond. Now, we need to hire three more men.”

Three more full-time firefighters would allow the department torun shifts of two men 24 hours a day, Harrison said.

A Class 6 rating would lower homeowners’ premiums about fivepercent and business owners’ around nine percent, he said.