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Clark County

October 30, 2009

Welcome to the Big Time: Contract considered to staff volunteer station

A new, approximately $1 million fire truck, recently purchased by the town of Clarksville, is too large to fit in the town’s professional firehouses.

“Our Station No. 2 is not big enough to house it,” said Fire Chief Bob Hansford.

The ladder truck is being kept at the department’s volunteer firehouse on Hale Road, leaving officials to consider an up to $100,000 contract to staff the volunteer house with a certified driver.

“We’re trying to go the cheapest route,” said Clarksville Town Councilman Don Tetley, a liaison between the council and the department.

He said the town may contract with McCullough Volunteer Fire Department in order to have a qualified driver there.

The truck was purchased about a month ago, Hansford said. It replaces a ladder truck that had been purchased in 1971. The door of the Hale Road facility, Station No. 3, had to be raised to get it inside, Tetley said. Not only is it too big, but it also takes three people to operate it and there’s not enough firefighters at Station No. 2 to man both it and the pumper trucks, Hansford said.

Ladder trucks are considered support vehicles, he said. The paid firefighters are “attackers,” meaning that when they arrive at a scene, the first order of business is working the hoses, he said.

Tetley estimates that as many as 30 volunteer firefighters report to Station No. 3, when an alarm is sounded.

“The bottom line is, we want somebody there [around the clock,]” said Tetley. “We want to make sure we have a driver there to bring this truck.”

Earlier this month, the Clarksville Redevelopment Commission approved spending on the contract.

Tetley, commission president, said the contract would be the most cost-effective route. As the town moves forward with the deal, Clarksville — not McCullough — would be responsible for training the new driver.

Already, Hansford said some of the volunteers are training on the vehicle.

“We should have it on the road shortly,” he said.

Clarksville Redevelopment Director Rick Dickman noted that the size issue should at least be short-lived, noting that a new firehouse — to replace nearly 40-year old Station No. 2 — has been proposed.

The Clarksville Community Center on Giltner Lane is being considered as a possible location for the new station.

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