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Worthington Fire Dept. seeking new truck

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WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Fire Department will ask for a new fire truck during this year’s budget cycle.

“We’re wanting to replace one of our pumpers,” WFD chief Rick Von Holdt said. “It’s 35 years old and what we’re looking for is a pumper tanker actually that has at least a 2,000 gallon tank.”

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Von Holdt said there could be many uses for that kind of truck.

“It could be used possibly for grass fires and stuff like that,” he said. “It could have something inside where you could pump and run. It would cover more area without having to pull hose or drag hose off a regular engine pumper. You’d have a lot more water available. A lot of the pumpers have 1,000 gallon tanks on it. You could have double the water, especially for rural grass fires and ditch fires.”

For grass fires, the new model pumpers are able to simultaneously pump water and have the truck in drive. Most of the pumpers are stationary when they are pumping water.

Von Holdt also said there would be uses in town.

“It would be nice for some of the hard to get spots, too,” Von Holdt said. “Around town there are a couple areas where you are quite a ways from your hydrant. A little extra water at the time of attack goes a long ways. Then you can get something set up that’s a little more permanent.”

The age of the current vehicle is a concern.

“The rotations are about every 30 years and it doesn’t get a lot of miles on them,” Von Holdt said. “We sold a couple of our older trucks when we got one of the pumpers. Our newest pumper is a 2004, so that’s the last time we replaced a pumper.”

A new truck could have lifetime warranties on things like the tank.

Even with a new truck, Von Holdt said he doesn’t see the WFD having any more mutual aid calls than it does now. So the primary use would be for places the department already serves.

“Where it would have the biggest benefit would be the grass fires or the cornfield fires or something like that,” Von Holdt said. “We had one situation where the fire all of a sudden took off running and we basically let the hose drop and we pulled the truck out of the way. With this pump and run, it would disperse water just as quick.”

The water tanker the WFD uses now isn’t always readily available.

“During the day, the city crews could possibly be using it,” Von Holdt said. “If it’s empty, then we have to wait around for it to get filled back up. It’s not that dedicated piece of equipment.”

According to Von Holdt, and confirmed by a city official, there is some money available for replacement.

“We wouldn’t press this issue, but it’s already five years over it’s rotation,” Von Holdt said. “Plus, the city has dedicated money they put into a fund so they can replace these trucks. I’m thinking the money is there and the longer we wait, the more these apparatuses do cost. If we can get our equipment updated, most of all the stuff we have now and the technology in the trucks that are coming out, there isn’t going to be much change in another 20 or 30 years after we replace the older stuff we have now.”

Von Holdt has checked with a couple of different places for a new pumper. One bid came in at $220,000 and the other was $295,000. The more expensive one had more options on it.

“A lot of the pumper tankers start at about $185,000 and go up from there,” Von Holdt said. “I have a couple more places to check with, too.”

The fund set aside is approximately $175,000, leaving a gap. These items are scheduled to be addressed at the first budget meeting, which is at 7 a.m. Friday.

“I’ll probably have to present some pros and cons as to why we need a tanker,” Von Holdt said.

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