New trucks are on the way
Less than three months after passage of the Fire District Referendum, over $ 200,000 in new equipment has been delivered to or ordered by Newton County volunteer firefighters.
New trucks have been delivered to the Salem Volunteer Fire Department. The North Newton volunteers are awaiting delivery of a truck as early as this weekend, while Rocky Plains is looking toward an October delivery date for their new truck.
The otherwise simple purchase of the new trucks, which range in price from $ 50,000 to $ 60,000, developed complications last Tuesday.
That is when Julian Lovern, sales representative for Seagrave fire equipment, attended the County Commission meeting.
Lovern went to the meeting seeking the down payment on the two trucks and the assurance that they would be properly insured.
At the time he discovered ( 1) members of the commission were surprised to learn that said trucks had been delivered, and that ( 2) the county wasn’t signing any checks until there was time to check the legality of such a purchase without a bidding process.
Lovern expressed concern over the lack of insurance coverage on the vehicles and said, “If they wreck, they’re really my responsibility. I would advise those boys to stop running those trucks until you can come up with a down payment.
“Presently, they have liability insurance, but since they don’t own the trucks, this doesn’t help much.”
County Commissioner Jerry Prosser, the commission’s representative on the Board of Fire mas-ters, said that he could not understand the volunteers going ahead with the purchase without consulting the board.
He said later that he had been on vacation the past two weeks and only learned of the purchase at 8: 30 p. m. the previous evening.
Three days after the commission meeting, on Friday, August 21, Salem received a call to assist the Newton County Fire Department on a house fire on Jack Neely Road.
Salem responded with their old truck.
The question of insurance coverage had been resolved and Harold’s Sales and Service, the Seagrave dealer that had delivered the trucks, had given permission to the volunteers to put the trucks back in service.
“We weren’t trying to hide anything. It was there for everyone to see, “said Frank Castellana, President of the Stewart Volunteer Fire Department.
“We’ve been looking at fire trucks for two years,” Castellana said.
“And before we bought it we sent the truck over for ( Covington Fire Marshall) Don Floyd to look
at it and he read the contract and
said it was a very good deal.
Salem’s new fire truck (left) is a 750 gallon, Class A pumper, while Stewart’s (right) is a 1000 gallon, Class A pumper. The two trucks were displayed at the Stewart Fire Station on Monday, August 17, when a sales representative held an orientation session for the volunteers to familiarize them with the operation of the new vehicles. The trucks, priced between $50,000 and $60,000 each will be paid for over a seven year period under a lease purchase contract.