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Disabled fire truck could raise local insurance rates

by Clarke Davis

Fire District No. 11’s ladder truck is out of commission and a decision to repair or replace it comes too late for the budget process.

The district has been equipped with the ladder truck for over 10 years and Fire Chief John Gordon knows of at least two houses and a couple of barns that are still standing because of the truck. That aside, the real benefit might come in what homeowners save on their insurance because of the better fire rating the town receives because of the truck.

A water nozzle at the end of an extended 50-foot ladder provides firefighters with a lot of advantages, Gordon said.

The truck is out of commission because of a leaking hydraulic system that operates the ladder. It can’t be certified, so Gordon is not going to risk sending someone out on the ladder. Replacement parts cannot be located and a complete rebuild of the ladder system is estimated at $25,000 to $30,000.

The 1980 Ford has a 1,000-gallon pump and was originally purchased for $45,000.

It’s Gordon’s opinion that the department should go on the market and buy a newer model truck similarly equipped.

The board members discussed the matter at the Aug. 9 meeting, but noted that they had just gone through the budget process and couldn’t start the financing for another truck until next year.

Ladder trucks are available in Holton and Oskaloosa, Gordon said.

The fire chief said the town’s ISO rating set by the insurance companies went from 7 to 6 when the department acquired the ladder truck, which is a savings for homeowners on their insurance. It will probably go back to a 7 on the next inspection, he said.

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Posted by on Aug 23 2011. Filed under County News, Government. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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