County ready to buy fire truck for fire agreement

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, August 6, 2014

NATCHEZ — At least one burning issue in the ongoing discussion of Adams County’s fire protection plan is getting extinguished.

Monday, the Adams County Board of Supervisors instructed Adams County Administrator Joe Murray to begin looking into financing options for the purchase of a new fire truck.

The fire truck — one of a number of provisions in the county’s 10-year fire protection agreement with the City of Natchez to cover areas outside the city limits — has been an issue on which city officials have expressed concern several times as the fiscal year has progressed and no truck has been ordered or delivered.

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Natchez Mayor Butch Brown said Tuesday he was “relieved to know the supervisors are ready to purchase the truck.”

“It is very good news and I hope they can get it here. The sooner the better,” Brown said.

“We need new modern firefighting equipment to cover the kinds of potential fires that we can have. The old interlocal agreement was established and in place prior to the redevelopment of the port industrial park, which has special needs for firefighting.

“We are not where we need to be in handling a catastrophic fire at a refinery, but the new equipment will help get us there.”

Brown said the city’s policy is to dispatch two trucks to a fire outside the city limits for safety reasons because of the distance from the fire stations.

“That leaves us half-naked in our coverage of the city, and the new truck and equipment will help in that regard,” he said.

While city officials expressed concern about the timing of when the fire truck would be ordered, the supervisors repeatedly said they were waiting to get word about a firefighting grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

That word came Thursday, County Emergency Management Director Robert Bradford Sr. said, to the tune of $18,000.

While the grant won’t entirely pay for a new fire truck, it can serve as a down payment, Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said.

A new fire truck costs approximately $400,000, he said.

“Realistically, we’ve always known we would have to borrow some to purchase it, but if we can borrow less, that’s better,” he said.

Grennell said county officials have already been in contact with a company that builds fire trucks.

“They have one that is built and is the color of the Natchez city fleet, and so if the city wants to maintain a consistence, I think we can get one,” he said. “It won’t take that long to get the truck in.”