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Hazelgreen pleased by Pennsylvania fire truck purchase
Hazelgreen pleased by Pennsylvania fire truck purchase

The Hazelgreen Fire District's newest fire truck arrived Tuesday from Valley Forge, Pa.
HAZELGREEN, Mo. (Dec. 25, 2008) — Residents of the Laquey, Buckhorn and Hazelgreen areas are used to seeing fire trucks from other districts helping out the small Hazelgreen Fire District. Another fire truck with the name of an out-of-town fire department will be traveling the roads in the next few weeks, but Fire Chief Eric Price wants to assure residents that he hasn’t called for mutual aid from the Valley Forge Fire Department in Pennsylvania.

Price said he wants to announce that his fire district has saved enough money to purchase a used fire truck from the Valley Forge department, and due to Hazelgreen’s need for the truck, will use it for calls even though it may take several weeks to repaint the truck with the Hazelgreen district’s name.

The truck, which arrived Tuesday, is a 1980 Pearce model that carries six firefighters and came fully equipped at a cost of $11,000.

“It’s an awesome, really nice truck,” Price said. “This truck actually will give us a lot of capabilities we haven’t had previously. We wanted a top-mount pump; the pump operator actually can see the scene from that position, and it gets him out of the roadway when working out on the interstate.”

Being able to carry more firefighters is important. Six people is two to three times the crew size of many of Hazelgreen’s other fire trucks, Price said, and the truck also has extrication equipment for car crashes and large diameter hoses with a 5-inch supply line.

“That is very important to get water to the fire, especially in a rural fire setting,” Price said.

Hazelgreen firefighters will retire a 1972 Ford fire truck that’s been out of service for some time due to faulty brakes.

Purchasing a used truck wasn’t the original plan, Price said.

“What we were trying to do was save enough money for a matching grant for the Assistance to Firefighters grant, but we kept getting denied for that, so we finally said, ‘Let’s just go buy one,’” Price said. “We looked around for the past several months and we found one we really liked.”

New fire trucks are typically six-digit purchases—far beyond the capacity of a rural fire district with 20 active firefighters and a total annual budget of $42,000. Saving enough money for the $11,000 payment for a used truck was difficult, Price acknowledged, but in this case, a used piece of equipment should provide many years of service despite its age.

“You can imagine how much we had to really work to come up with $11,000,” Price said. “The fire department it came from was one of those departments that has the privilege of a lot of money. They took a lot of really good care of this truck and it was professionally maintained and you can tell from looking at it, it’s really just a beautiful truck and we’re really happy to have it.”

Four Hazelgreen firefighters, Capt. Gary Ellis, Makon Schmidt, Ashley Odorizzi, and Michael Garrett drove more than a thousand miles during the weekend to pick up their new truck and returned with it Tuesday morning.

“Unfortunately, we sent firefighters up there who are presently laid off from work,” Price said. “These people we in the community depend on for our life and safety and our property and person to come and save you when you have a fire or a motor vehicle accident or medical need, these people are being laid off from their normal jobs. They’re volunteer (firefighters) so it’s making it even harder for them to be able to afford to come volunteer and make those calls.”

Ellis serves Hazelgreen’s maintenance officer. The other three members of the pickup team were recognized Friday night at Hazelgreen’s annual fire appreciation banquet: Schmidt is the district’s firefighter of the year, Odorizzi is the rookie of the year, and Garrett is the most improved firefighter of the year.

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