New trucks are on the way

The Covington News - - LOOKING BACK -

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.

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