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Plum Council approves funds for fire truck

| Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Unity Volunteer Fire Department is on its way to ordering a new pumper.

Plum Council voted Monday night in favor of the borough borrowing $435,000 for the new truck that has a price tag of $535,000.

Unity Volunteer Fire Chief Jeff Currie said the department is obtaining a $100,000 state grant for the remaining portion of the price of the pumper that will have a capacity to hold 750,000 gallons of water.

Currie said the new pumper will replace one that is 31 years old and has been out of service a couple of years after its engine failed.

Pumpers typically have a life span of 20 years, the chief said.

“It's great news,” Currie said after Monday night's meeting. “We appreciate the borough's assistance. We couldn't do it on our own without the borough's help.”

Councilman Michael Dell, the finance committee chairman, said the borough hasn't been able to assist the fire departments with apparatus replacement for several years because of economic conditions.

Dell said the borough last helped the Logans Ferry Volunteer Fire Department with a truck purchase in 2008, and he expects the program to restart with consistency.

“We had to put on hold the (borough's) schedule of the purchase of fire trucks,” Dell said. “Over the last three years, we have cut expenses by about $1 million, and we are working to get the fire fund back where it should be. In a few months, we will set up a new schedule for fire truck purchases. We are looking for a more permanent solution.”

The Logans Ferry VFD last year purchased a $320,000 tanker. No borough funds were used to buy the truck. Fire Chief Ray Brenner said the department received a loan from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

Currie said the pumper should be ordered in October and delivered in seven to eight months.

The department currently has one pumper, one aerial truck, one rescue vehicle, one squad vehicle and a quick response vehicle for medical calls, the chief said.

Currie said Unity's fire district makes it optimal to have two pumpers. The district has a few areas that don't have ready access to fire hydrants.

The department also covers a portion of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8753 or kzapf@tribweb.com.

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