The Ottumwa Courier


July 15, 2013

Fire chief: Eldest fire truck a burden on department


The city would take out debt to finance the purchase, Helfenberger said.

"The cost of financing is about as low as we've seen in a long time," he said. "We'd probably borrow over a six- to 10-year period to cover the cost.

"Interest rates are low, pretty much lower than we've seen them for a long, long time. The cost of the truck has come down about $200,000, the need is there and we're trying to protect major industry. It seems like this is about the best time to purchase it compared to other times."

If the council approves the department's request to purchase a new truck, Miller said the 1977 truck isn't the only one that would be taken out of service; the 1990 Mack Pumper is also on that list. The 23-year-old truck would then become the main truck for the north side of town, located at the airbase.

The 1977 truck was taken out of service shortly after a fire destroyed El Rancho Grande restaurant in April. The truck was used to battle the blaze on the back side of the structure.

"We hated to use it, but we had to," Miller said. "The bottom line is, with as many house fires as we've had this year, we have to do something."

The city has seen 30 structure fires so far this year, compared to a total of 34 structure fires in all of 2012.

"I think they realize they've got to do something," Miller said of the council's decision to consider the purchase. "But ultimately it's the council's decision whether they want to spend that money.

"It's time to get rid of this dinosaur."

The council will also discuss:

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