Plum fire department welcomes new heavy duty truck
There's a new fire truck in town.
The Logans Ferry Heights Volunteer Fire Department recently got a new tanker that has a capacity of 1,500 gallons of water and is expected to be used throughout the borough as well as in surrounding communities.
“A typical truck can hold 500 to 800 gallons of water,” Chief Ray Brenner said. “This is a significant amount.”
Brenner said the new tanker will be used in fires that require a large amount of water including brush and vegetation fires and in areas of the borough where volunteers do not have easy access to fire hydrants as well as those not served by public water.
“It's an invaluable tool in those areas,” Brenner said.
The truck will be available for calls handled by Plum's other volunteer fire departments — Holiday Park, Renton and Unity — as well as surrounding municipalities including Upper Burrell, Lower Burrell, New Kensington, Oakmont and Springdale.
Unity Volunteer Fire Chief Jeff Currie said the department has a tanker with a 750-gallon capacity.
Currie said Unity's fire district has a few areas that don't have ready access to fire hydrants. The department also covers a portion of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Currie said he calls upon Monroeville Volunteer Fire Department No. 5 on Seco Road when a tanker with more water capacity is needed in Unity's district.
“It will be nice to have one,” Currie said.
Brenner said the new truck with all the equipment on it cost about $320,000. No borough funds were used to buy the truck. The department received a loan from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.
Currie said Unity is in line next year to receive money from the borough to help pay for a new truck under the apparatus replacement program.
The borough helps the four fire departments on a rotating basis to purchase trucks.
The program has stalled, though, because the fire fund has been dwindling. Borough council is looking at options to bolster the coffers in the fund.
Manager Michael Thomas said the projected balance in the fund at the end of this year is $42,000. The projected deficit in 2013 is $30,000.
In addition to truck purchases, money in the fund is used to pay for worker's compensation, hydrant fees, accident insurance, loan payments, municipal contributions, foreign fire insurance and tires.
Council late last year authorized transferring $75,000 from the general fund to subsidize the fire fund this year.
Dell said council is looking at options to bolster the fund including instituting a $1 per household fire fee next year.
Manager Michael Thomas said the fee would generate about $132,000 a year in revenue for the fund.
Council's finance committee was expected to meet with borough staff Wednesday night to start work on the 2013 budget.
Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or firstname.lastname@example.org.