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Heuck’s Retreat VFD receives new fire truck

Firefighting abilities in Lincoln County were cranked up a notchThursday when members of Heuck’s Retreat Volunteer Fire Departmentdrove home their brand new fire engine, becoming the third VFD inthe county to receive a new ride in the last two years.

Firefighters and county officials inspected and detected everyknob, nut and bolt of the hulking, bright crimson 2010 Freightlinerduring a quick show-off session in the courthouse’s east parkinglot, marveling at the truck’s capabilities and friendly features.To the volunteers at Heuck’s Retreat, the truck had one featurethat stood above all others – simply that it was new, brought in toreplace a firefighting vehicle that had long since turned 30 yearsold.

“The truck it’s replacing was a 1970s model. It had a fewproblems. It was wore out,” said department chief MikeCampbell.

The new Freightliner – built by Ferrara Fire Apparatus, Inc., ofHolden, La. – features a 1,500-gallon water tank with enoughpressure to unload every ounce of its liquid load in 60 seconds.The truck was built with numerous toolboxes for storage of oxygentanks, flashlights, fans and whatever else firefighters may need,and the numerous switches on the outside control panel are allcolor coded for ease of use.

One feature of the truck that impressed its new owners was thefront bumper’s booster reel, an electronic spool that can unraveland retract a small fire hose automatically.

“This will let us fight grass fires,” Campbell said. “The oldone didn’t have a pump on the front.”

The truck is powered by a Cummins diesel, giving it asignificant power increase over the department’s old vehicle. Theonly thing not included in the delivery were the hoses and nozzlesneeded to make everything work.

“We’ve got those new in the box back at the station,” Campbellsaid.

The new truck cost about $209,000 and was paid for with grantfunds administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’sFire Act and Mississippi’s Rural Fire Truck Program.

“One of the best things about this truck is it didn’t cost thetaxpayers of Lincoln County any money,” said Lincoln County CivilDefense Director Clifford Galey.

Galey said Heuck’s Retreat applied for the grant for fiveconsecutive years before finally breaking through.

Heuck’s Retreat joins the Bogue Chitto and East Lincolndepartments to make three of eight county fire departments toreceive new grant-funded trucks in the past two years. Next in lineshould be the department at New Sight, Galey said.

“They’ve never had a grant truck,” he said. “It’s just been asituation where every time there’s a chance to do the grant theirfunds wouldn’t allow it. They did purchase their own truck a fewyears ago.”

Galey said the addition of another new fire truck to thecounty’s VFDs makes fire response faster and more powerful, andallows the departments that have received new trucks to maintainthe fire protection insurance ratings for their communities.

“The age of the fire truck has a lot to do with that,” hesaid.