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County to purchase new rescue truck

A rescue truck will still be on the way to emergencies over the next few weeks. It may not be the one the McDuffie County Fire Department had been hoping to send, but it will be there.

On Sept. 10 the department's 1991 Chevrolet rescue truck broke its serpentine belt while responding to a call. Fire Chief Bruce Tanner said the estimate to temporarily fix the truck is $3,000.

"When it threw the belt, it caused it to run hot. The problem started from there," Chief Tanner said.

The broken down rescue truck - which was originally designed as a bread truck - is used in response to specific kinds of emergencies. The most common is vehicle accidents when the passengers are entrapped. The rescue truck is equipped and specially fitted with the necessary extrication machinery.

In the meantime, a service truck has been converted to carry the rescue equipment. The retired ambulance now in use already has nearly 270,000 miles on it. That prompted Chief Tanner to ask for a new rescue vehicle.

"We could spend $3,000 to get the problem we've identified, which is a head gasket and replace the heads," he said. "...But there's some noise further down in the engine."

McDuffie County Commissioners voted on Sept. 19 to allow Chief Tanner to seek bids on replacing the rescue truck. He hopes to have it purchased for under the budgeted amount of $64,000.

Web posted on Thursday, September 28, 2006

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