Fire dept. gets new fire truck, can't afford to equip it - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Fire dept. gets new fire truck, can't afford to equip it


The good news, St. Mary, Missouri got a new fire truck. The bad news, they can't afford to equip it.

The fire department hopes a grant will help cover the cost, but the grant also comes at a cost.

St. Mary Assistant Fire Chief Frank Ullman says the department would like to stock their new fire truck with lifesaving equipment, they just don't know if they can afford it.

"Essentially, this grant, even though our part is only 5 percent, would completely wipe out our annual income,” said David Woods.

Woods, St. Mary's city clerk, said the small town is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Should the city wipe out the city's savings to equip the new truck and risk having an unexpected expense down the road?

"The alderman are apprehensive about doing that because they don't want to spend all our money. They want to make sure they have money to operate or for repairs and things that come up during the year,” he said.

Assistant Fire Chief Frank Ullman said the new equipment is critical and would be used for buying compatible equipment for mutual aid calls.

"When we all go to the new system, all of the county fire departments then we can intertwine with each other when we are at a fire,” said Ullman.

He said the department has a few plans to help cover the cost.

"If we can sell our old truck and get it out of here and get the money off of that, that will help out. Plus, other grants too to hopefully succeed on that,” he said.

But Woods said it still won't cover the total cost of $9,000, a risk the city must decide soon.

"Last year they operated $35,000 in the red, the year before that, $4,000 in the positive, before that $15,000 in the red, so they are not self-sufficient, the city has to come in and help with our general funds,” said Woods.

A special board meeting is scheduled for later this week to decide if the city should go ahead and apply for the grant.

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