The presentation centered around the age and state of the trucks and equipment owned by the volunteer service. In addition to the state of the vehicles, Lt. Brandon Haynes explained that when vehicles need maintenance, the firefighters are forced to use their personal tools. He expressed frustration at the department’s not being what he perceives as fully equipped.
The largest discussion of the evening centered around the department’s pumper truck. Engine 111 currently has a blown engine and is inoperable.
The vehicle, a 1992 Spartan Alexis Pumper, is out of commission, and three main choices were presented to the board, replacing with a new engine, replacing with a used engine and rebuilding the current engine.
After much discussion between those gathered and the board, the board approved the purchase of the used motor, pending the verification that the used motor will be compatible and is in good working order. After the purchase of the motor, and estimated three weeks will be needed to install the motor.
In the interim, there is a need for the department to have a second pumper truck. Fruitland has an auto-aid agreement with the City of Muscatine. According to the agreement, when there is a confirmed structure fire in Muscatine, the Fruitland Fire Department sends assistance. Also per the agreement, Muscatine Fire responds in kind, sending assistance if there is a confirmed structure fire in Fruitland.
Additionally, the department has a mutual aid agreement with several departments around Muscatine and Louisa counties. Due to these obligations, the concern is that if the current working pump truck is involved in a response, a potential issue may arise.
Chief Don Briggs presented to the board the option of purchasing a new truck with the price of $291,094. With an initial payment of $40,000, the department would be approved for a payment plan that would allow for one payment per year in the amount of just over $20,000.
Many residents discussed the need to fundraise in an effort to save for a new engine.