City approves purchase of new fire trucks

Published 10:22 am Tuesday, December 26, 2023

BROOKHAVEN — Citizens will be “seeing red” soon, as two new fire trucks will be rolling into action. The City of Brookhaven’s oldest two fire trucks are about to be replaced.

The Board of Aldermen voted unanimously this week to go ahead with the purchase of two Rosenbauer America trucks from Bonaventure Company Inc.

One is a 101 King Cobra Tower ladder truck at a cost of $1,744,838. The other is a Class A pumper truck at a cost of $796,708. Both will be purchased through State Contract, and Municipal Bond Funds will be used for the purchase. 

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“This will get our trucks back in full compliance with the insurance rating,” Fire Chief Jeff Ainsworth said.

The ladder truck is required for cities with large facilities such as McLane Southern and Walmart Distribution Center, and will be an asset for multi-level buildings such as hotels and the Mississippi School of the Arts.

In June, Rosenbauer America representatives demonstrated a large ladder truck for BFD and city officials. For those who were not present at the demo, Ainsworth described the vehicle in concise terms: “It’s a big truck.”

The trucks will replace Engine 6 and Ladder 1, both 1997 models. Ladder 1 — with a 75-foot reach — will be kept as a reserve truck. The new truck extends to 101 feet. Engine 6 will be sold at auction.

BFD currently has a Class 5 Public Protection Classification fire rating. Provided by the Insurance Services Office, the score reflects how prepared a community and area is to fight fires. It mainly focuses on local fire departments and water supply, but also includes emergency communications systems and fire education safety. The highest possible score is a 1 and the lowest is 10. Fire departments count for half of the score. The lower the number (which is also the higher the rating), the more insurance companies will lower premiums on homeowners’ insurance.

The new trucks will maintain the 5 rating, and will help bring the city’s rating down to 4, Ainsworth said, though his goal is to get to a 3 with the completion of a new Fire Training Facility within 2024.

The department is next scheduled for its rating evaluation in 2025, but Ainsworth said he hopes to have that moved up to 2024.

Purchasing the two trucks at one time saves the city $72,905, which was approved by the Board — at Ainsworth’s request — to be used for the Training Facility.