The scene at Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District’s Hillsboro station Friday afternoon was almost like Christmas morning: Guys and gals, eyes wide, gawked at a brand new shiny red fire truck, complete with lights, sirens and ladder — and this one was not a toy.
The ladder truck, named Quint 231, boasts a 78-foot ladder, seating for six firefighters and enough state-of-the-art emergency service tech to make any first responder want one for Christmas.
In fact, the truck was something of a Christmas present itself, since a FEMA grant footed the bill for 90 percent of the purchase price, according to Chief Dave Manning.
Manning told The Times-Gazette that FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters grant paid for $624,091 of the engine’s base price of $686,500. According to Manning, Paint Creek paid the other 10 percent, plus $55,219 in design modifications and upgrades.
The grant was written by Mickey Smith, president and CEO of Ohio First Responder Grants LLC, based in Powell, Ohio. Smith said his organization has been responsible for $21 million in grants for emergency departments around the state in the last 12 years.
Manning said the Quint 231, manufactured by Rosenbauer, comes with “pretty much everything” a firefighting crew could need, including the long ladder, a 1,500-gallon-per-minute pump, a 500-gallon water tank, another 20-gallon tank for Class A foam, ground ladders, extra hoses and an on-board PTO generator.
According to Manning, the truck is a single-axle vehicle, so it can more easily maneuver through small spaces, and with several buildings in the district being taller than three stories, the ladder will be able to reach high enough to extinguish climbing fires.
Manning said he believes the ladder truck is the first brand new aerial apparatus in Highland County, since most equipment purchased by fire departments here is used or refurbished.
Paint Creek bought the truck from All-American Fire Equipment in Washington Court House, according to Manning, and a representative of the supplier was on hand Friday to give officials a tour.
The fire truck will likely not be in service for a few weeks, Manning said, since first responders will need training on how to properly drive and use the engine.
Manning said he’s looking forward to having the truck in service.
“I just want to, as always, thank the citizens of the district for their support,” Manning said. “We’re excited to have this tool… and we’re doing everything we can to be fiscally responsible.”
After the truck was delivered, a crowd of Paint Creek staff crowded around the engine as its ladder extended to the sky.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570.