The city of Mountain Home now owns a brush truck, thanks in part due to the recently instituted Public Safety Tax and the Mountain Home Rural Fire Protection District.
The truck is a brand new 2019 Ford F350 extended cab truck with custom outfitting by WildFire out of Alvarado, Texas. The truck is four wheel drive and has a 300-gallon tank fitted to the one ton chassis.
The truck is capable of pumping 350 gallons per minute and will replace a truck owned by the Arkansas Forestry Department that's insured and maintained by the city. The older truck, a 1985 model, will move to Station 3 on County Road 27, where it will continue service.
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The new truck cost approximately $91,000, according to Mountain Home Fire Chief Ken Williams who said the price was good considering such trucks can cost $121,000 or more.
"The Mountain Home Rural Fire Protection District paid half the cost of the new truck and money from the Public Safety Tax paid almost the entire rest of the cost," Williams told The Baxter Bulletin. "The rural fire district is a great partner and we really appreciate the citizens voting for the tax to support us. We want them to know the money is being spent the way we said it would be spent."
Brush trucks allow firefighters to access places regular fire trucks cannot go, according to Williams, who said the bigger trucks would sink and get stuck in many of the locations where brush trucks are used.
"With the 200 feet of hose on the reel, the firefighter can quickly roll out hose, put out a hot spot, then roll the hose up and move past a fence line to access other areas of a fire," said the chief. "That kind of mobility is important when you're fighting a fast-moving fire in a field."
Mountain Home Mayor Hillrey Adams and city council member Wayne Almond were recently at Station 1 checking out the new truck.
"Any time we can upgrade equipment, we upgrade their ability to fight fires," Adams said of the new truck. "That's a great thing for the people and the city."
The ability to upgrade services is something Adams believes is important for city leaders to strive for.
"We will continue to look for ways to address the needs not only of our fire and police departments, but all the city services," the mayor said. "That's one of the ways you maintain and improve the quality of life."
The fire department will receive another new truck in March. That new truck will replace Engine 1, the primary truck to respond within the city limits. When the new truck arrives, the old Engine 1 will become the primary truck to respond when firefighters are called to the rural protection district.
The MHFD is responsible for fire protection in the rural fire district. Between the city and the rural fire district, the MHFD is responsible for fire the fire coverage of approximately 45 percent of all Baxter County residents, Williams said.