GRATIS —The Gratis Fire Department purchased a previously owned fire engine recently after council approved the expenditure of $25,000.
According to Chief Andy Cook, the truck will now be the first to leave the station for the department as it is equipped with tools for both structural firefighting and extrication at motor vehicle crashes.
Before, the department used two different trucks — one for extrication and one for structural firefighting. Now, according to Cook, the new truck will be the first responding unit to all scenes.
Cook also noted the truck, which was built in 1994, was paid for by money the department already had within its budget. He also said the department plans to use the truck for at least the next 10 years, if not more.
Cook called it “perfect storm” which allowed the department to purchase the unit. He said Police Chief Jeff King actually found the truck on an online auction site and Cook saw the truck a few days later. Council called a special meeting to approve the purchase of the truck before the auction ended.
The truck was purchased from the City of Hudson, Ohio which according to Cook has an extensive maintenance program. “They probably over-killed it,” he said of the maintenance history of the truck. “But I can’t complain because we ended up with a much better truck for a lower price.”
Cook said the department in Hudson purchases new trucks every 20 years and he believes his department was the beneficiary of that. “I was looking at spending $150,000 on a truck that probably wouldn’t be in near as good of shape as this one,” he said.
For the Gratis Fire Department, the new truck features an enclosed cab, a new feature for the department. “The biggest improvement we have is the enclosed cab that sits six firefighters,” Cook said. “You can comfortably sit six firemen packed up and buckled in. The cab is enclosed so now we will be removed from the elements when responding to scenes.”
Cook said the purchase came at good time for his department. “It was a pretty big need for just firefighter safety with the enclosed cab — especially for winter, and we began running into maintenance problems with the other truck so it comes at a good time.”
The new truck features a 1,000 gallon tank and “high sides” on both sides which allow the department to store more equipment on the truck.
Also according to Cook, the truck features its own built-in generator, allowing the station to set up lights and other devices for fire safety without bringing a portable generator as they had done in the past.