Plympton-Wyoming councilors say the town’s volunteer firefighters will be safer on the roads after approving $1 million worth of new vehicles.
Eight months after a chain reaction crash on Highway 402 involving the Wyoming Fire Department, Plympton-Wyoming approved the purchase of a new heavy rescue truck and a fire tanker truck.
In March, the rescue truck and fire tanker along with one other truck were on the way to an accident on the 402 west of Oil Heritage Road in heavy snow when they were involved in a multiple car pile up. The fire tanker truck and the heavy rescue truck were destroyed in the crash.
Five people in the rescue truck were injured, including one volunteer who shattered his wrist and has not returned to work since the crash.
The fire department made hasty plans to find replacement vehicles, with the firemen’s association buying a used tanker truck and the town renting a rescue truck.
The department recommended the two trucks be bought from Resqtech because the other companies who bid on the project couldn’t meet the department’s specifications.
Councilor Ben Dekker, chair of the fire board, says after the accident, the department members were very specific about the safety features they wanted included in the new trucks. The firefighters association wanted a large cab which could fit more people. The cab is also reinforced for safety.
They were also looking for high-powered air conditioning so when they went to a fire in the middle of the summer, the cab could act as a cooling station. Only one company could provide those options, says Dekker.
The heavy rescue truck will cost almost $608,000 and the fire tanker truck will cost about $424,000.
Even with the million-dollar price tag, taxpayers won’t pay a dime for new trucks. The insurance money covers the majority of the cost. A total of about $57,000 will come out of the Wyoming Fire Department’s Equipment Reserves to pay for the rest.
Dekker says these trucks have the latest technology and will be a large step up in safety for the department.
“The guys are not safe (in the current trucks),” he says. “It is more important than ever to make sure there is a truck that those guys and girls can sit in…since they are no longer allowed to bring their personal vehicles on the highway.”
Mayor Lonny Napper is glad the new truck will protect the volunteers. “We’ve been taking too much for granted sending people out there,” he says,
Councilor Netty McEwen agrees. “These guys have to be assured they are safe,” she says. We appreciate the situation they’re going into.”
Resqtech will now build the trucks to the department’s specification. It will take a number of months to complete.