By Tia Lynn Ivey
Morgan County is on the hunt for a new fire truck, anticipating to spend upwards of $300,000 to replace the truck that was totaled in a wreck last December, which left a Savannah woman dead and a firefighter injured.
“We had an incident back in December involving the loss of one of our trucks and the process to get a new one has been going on,” said Fire Chief Jeff Stone to the Morgan County Board of Commissioners at the last meeting on Tuesday, July 2. Stone noted that a dealer in Winder could provide a four-door truck for about $325,000. The old truck was a two-door truck and posed some storage limitations, according to Stone.
“We want to move to a four-door truck so we can better store what we need to have with us,” said Stone.
According to Mark Williams, assistant county manager, county staff is finalizing a Request for Proposal (RFP) to get a better idea of fire truck options available and costs.
“We are putting the finishing touches on it,” said Williams.
According to Williams, the new truck will be paid for with an insurance payout and funds from the Capital Reserve fund in the county’s budget.
“The bulk of the new truck will be paid for through an insurance settlement and the rest will be taken out of our capital reserve fund,” said Williams.
The new truck will be housed at the Morgan County Public Safety Complex’s Firestation 16 in Madison. “That where the new truck will go,” said Williams. “In the meantime, our forestations have repositioned some of our trucks to ensure all our stations have full responding capabilities. So far, our fire services have not suffered any negative impacts from the loss of the old truck.”
The county is hoping to narrow down its options for a new truck purchase in the next couple of weeks.
Since the accident, Morgan County Fire and Rescue formed a truck committee to find a feasible way to replace the fire truck that was totaled in the December crash. Chief Stone submitted a specification sheet outlining features the truck needs to have to best serve the fire service needs of the county.
“This will help us when we are shopping around for a new truck,” said Stone.
“It isn’t cheap,” said Stone in a previous interview. Stone is hoping to purchase a custom truck instead of a commercial truck.
“The commercial trucks are basically converted moving trucks or delivery trucks,” said Stone. “They have a shorter lifespan than the custom trucks which are build from the ground up specifically-designed to handle fire service and all the wear and tear that comes with it. The commercial trucks are sort of generic and not always the best in the world. Custom trucks are much safer.”
According to Stone, commercial trucks typically last 10 to 15 years. A custom truck lasts 25 to 30 years.
“The commercial trucks do the job, take care of the need, but the custom trucks fulfill all the wants. Fiscally, we need to balance the needs and wants in a truck,” said Stone.