Archive for Monday, August 15, 2005

District No. 1 gets first new fire truck in 10 years

August 15, 2005

Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 has its first new fire truck in 10 years, and Chief Rick Huhn welcomes the added piece of equipment.

Purchase of the 2005 Freightliner, a pumper/tanker truck manufactured by E-One, will allow the district to move another pumper truck to its new station on County Road 29, west of Lansing. It also will ease Huhn's concerns when the department responds to more than one fire call at a time.

"If we're on a call out on our western boundary and we get another call in town, guess what: We have another truck here in town," he said.

Huhn's example isn't fiction, though. Through Friday, the department has had 20 occurrences of what Huhn terms "dual calls." On average, about once a week more than one fire call at a time will come into the station.

"It's really tough," Huhn said.

The new $179,000 truck, which was ordered in December, was delivered Thursday afternoon. By Friday, firefighter Keith Kohler was adding striping to the truck's sides and "Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1" decals to its doors as it sat inside the fire station at 111 E. Kansas Ave.

Over the weekend, volunteers with the department were mounting about $12,000 worth of equipment to the truck, including hoses, fans and fittings.

"We're doing all the detail work ourselves," Huhn said, "The factory would do it for us, but they'd charge us $75 an hour to do it. This will save us some money."

Once the customizing is completed, volunteer firefighters will be put through driver's training on the new unit. The training should take about two weeks, Huhn said, at which time the unit will be put into service.

"It's going to be quite a lot of help since that one over there we work on daily," Huhn said, pointing to a 1976 International Harvester a few bays down from the new truck. "Now if we lose a truck (for repairs), it's not so much of an issue."

The new truck is being paid for with funds from the fire district's budget, which is supported by property taxes. The district made a down payment of $75,000 and borrowed the balance, Huhn said.

The five-year note carries an interest rate of 4½ percent. If all goes as planned, he said, the truck would be paid off earlier than the five-year term.

"We put back money every year for trucks," he said.

With the new purchase, the district now has five fire trucks for its use.

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