Friday, June 03, 2016

TOP SORY >> Lonoke gets a new fire truck

Leader staff writer

A new fire truck that Lonoke thought it lost out on is now parked in front of the Lonoke Fire Station.

Cabot is also in the market for a new fire engine.

Lonoke Fire Chief Jimmy Wallace told the council at its recent council meeting that the city was in desperate need of an additional fire engine.

“Our main vehicle is Engine 4, and we’ve been having problems with it. So much so that we had to pull a 40-year-plus vehicle we had in mothballs to sell at auction back into service to make sure the department had the vehicle power it needed to respond to incidents like a fiery crash on I-40 that caused three other accidents and kept firefighters out on the scene for five hours,” the chief said.

Wallace lamented he had found a used, but excellent, vehicle similar to the one the city had for $220,000 but when he called back on it, the vehicle was already sold.

“We can move some money around,” said Alderman Pat Howell, in an effort to give the chief assurances that a down payment would be ready the next time the chief found an appropriate vehicle.

It didn’t take long as Texas Fire Truck Sales of Houston called the chief Monday and said the deal had fallen through on the fire truck that he was interested in and did Lonoke still want it. The chief said yes and was told the city had until Thursday to pick it up.

It took city officials a few days to figure where in the budget the funds were going to come from and a special council meeting was called to approve the purchase.

Firefighters went to Houston and brought the 2004 Pierce Enforcer rescue pumper back to Lonoke.

A $12,500 check presented to the department last month by state Rep. Camille Bennett from the state’s General Improvement Fund went toward the purchase of the fire truck.

Meanwhile, Cabot Fire Chief Phil Robinson is looking to spend up to $450,000 for a new fire truck.

The Cabot City Council approved an ordinance in late March authorizing the issuance of a promissory note to provide financing for the purchase of a fire truck.

Interest on the note is set at 1.72 percent. Payments will come from the city’s general funds.