Culkin upgrades arsenal with new truck
Published 10:13 am Tuesday, April 21, 2015
A new piece of equipment unveiled this week at Culkin Volunteer Fire Department could one day help save the lives of area residents.
Culkin took ownership Monday of a 2015 Kenworth T370 tanker, which will not only add to the department’s firefighting arsenal, but also greatly increase their ability to provide for the residents of Warren County. The tanker will be used in the Culkin fire district primarily, but will also be their primary truck they use for mutual aid to other districts as well.
“The capability to haul 2,000 gallons of water to other departments within the county is going to be the biggest benefit,” Warren County Fire Coordinator Jerry Briggs said. “Wherever it’s needed, it will go.”
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The new truck will give some relief on mutual aid calls to the department’s two primary attack trucks, which both hold 1,250 gallons. In the past if the trucks were called on to help another district that could mean leaving their own vulnerable if there was an emergency.
“By getting this tanker we can take some of the wear and tear off our primary attack trucks,” former Culkin chief and current E-911 interim director Chuck Tate said.
Commissioner of Insurance and State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney presented the Warren County Board of Supervisors $70,000 from the Mississippi Rural Fire Truck Acquisition Assistance Program to help pay for the truck. The truck costs about $217,000 total, Briggs said.
This is the tenth round of the program Warren County has participated in, receiving a total of $580,000 from the state and contributing $1,591,044 for volunteer fire departments since the program’s inception in 1995.
“We’ve been able to get this truck in part because of the tax increase that went into the fire districts two years ago,” Tate said. “Without that money we could not have bought this truck.”
The new truck will help provide fire protection for the district, as well as hopefully enticing new volunteers to join the department, District 1 Supervisor John Arnold said.
“Our volunteers are really what push this fire department,” he said. “Without them, we would not have it.”
Some training will have to take place before the heavier truck gets put in service full time, but it should be rolling within the week, Culkin fire chief Lamar Frederick said.
Culkin has responded to an average of 42 fires per year over the past five years, 60 medical/rescue calls, and 197 calls per year for other types of incidents, including weather, haz-mat and false alarms, State Fire Coordinator Brad Smith said in a press release.
The larger tank gives them the capability to put more water on a structure fire when seconds count, which is especially important in remote areas of the county where the nearest fire hydrant may be two or three miles away, volunteer firefighter Lee Williams said.
“I’m hoping that the more people see us upgrading our equipment, the safer they feel,” Williams said.