Council to consider new fire truck purchase

Kevin Spradlin Richmond County Daily Journal

November 8, 2013

Rockingham Mayor Steve Morris and council members are expected to approve on Tuesday the purchase of a new pumper fire engine for the city’s fire department.

The city will conduct its monthly public meeting at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall in downtown Rockingham.

Fire Chief Charles Gardner told The Daily Journal that a new truck would replace a 1987 truck. The purchase, if approved, would be more about meeting modern safety standards and less about having all the bells and whistles. It would be position at Station 1 on South Lawrence Street.

“The new truck’s going to carry more water, have all the new, updated safety warning devices on it, an on-board phone system (and) more compartment space,” Gardner said.

If the council’s approval is the good news, the better news is that the purchase price of $272,121 is more than $45,000 below what had been estimated and planned for in the city’s capital improvement plan.

Gardner said the council’s expected approval continues a “great” relationship between the elected board and the city’s 15 full-time and 15 part-time firefighters since his arrival to the station in 1983.

“They’ve been very supportive,” Gardner said. “We spent a great deal of money ove the last 10 years” on renovations and equipment purchases.

“They’ve funded probably 99 percent of everything we’ve requested so far.”

Gardner said the National Fire Protection Association recommends fire trucks be refurbished at the 10-year mark and replaced after 15 years. The current truck is nearly 26 years old, so “obviously, we’ve gone beyond” those recommendations, he said.

The new truck has an eight-month build time. Gardner said it’s expected to be delivered in Summer 2014. It will be built in Florida by Pierce Manufacturing.

The city received two bids for the truck ranging between $880 less than the purchase price, from Virginia-based Atlantic Emergency Solutions, to $289,238 by Anchor-Richey EVS, based in Hickory.

Gardner said the out-dated truck will either be put up for auction or donated, at the council’s direction.