Friday, April 13, 2007

Firemen Save Taxpayers Money By Upfitting New Fire-Rescue Truck Themselve

(L to R) Smithfield firefighters Justin Otto, Chuck Lee, Lt. John Blanton, Larry Hodge, Chief Patrick Harris, and Mayor Norman Johnson are pictured with Rescue 2. The department bought the basic truck, and firemen spent hundreds of man hours upfitting the truck with radios, lights, a generator and pump, saving taxpayers $65,000. Chief Harris said the project created a lot of pride for firefighters, who worked as late as 2am in the morning on the project.

Members of the Smithfield Fire Department are very proud of a brand new rescue-fire truck completed and put into service two weeks ago. To save taxpayers money, Fire Chief Patrick Harris purchased the bare truck and body, while firefighters, in their spare time, did all the upfit work. “It turned out awesome. They did an outstanding job,” Chief Harris said, referring to the hundreds of man hours put into the truck, called Rescue 2. Firemen installed the radios, lights, wiring, generator and pump themselves. Even the design of the truck started from scratch from firefighter Lt. John Blanton. The department paid $85,000 for the truck. By doing the work in house, the town saved $65,000 in the price of the upgrades. Chief Harris said firemen went above and beyond their call of duty. “It’s certainly not in their job description!” The yearlong project ended this month when the truck was put into service. Rescue 2 will be the first truck to leave the fire station when responding to all motor vehicle accidents in town, and will be the first truck to respond to brush fires. The 2006 Ford F550 is four wheel drive, has a crew cab, and holds 250 gallons of water. It will complement the larger Rescue 1 fire engine, and should help prolong its lifespan. With the new rescue-fire truck completed, the Smithfield Fire Department is now in the process of being certified as a Heavy Rescue provider. When the certification is obtained, they will be the first department in Johnston County to achieve that status.


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