The Woodruff Town Board heard another fire truck update at its meeting Tuesday.
Victor Gee of the Woodruff Fire Department presented a bid to the board for an aerial truck from Marion Body Works.
The truck has a 75-foot ladder, its price at $749,483 with options for about $35,000 worth of deductions.
"It's the fire department's stand right now that we should make the consideration of moving forward with the aerial because that's what the fire department feels is necessary to meet the fire protection needs of the town," Gee stated.
Board member Barry Seidel Jr. was the first to respond to Gee, stating he believes a discussion should be had about what kind of truck the town needs.
"I'd like the board to choose a direction, either towards the aerial or replacing the engine and then I think there's another fork in the road that we could take too, as far as replacing the engine, and that is whether we buy new or we buy good used," Seidel said.
Board member Ed Richardson questioned whether the town could invest three quarters of $1 million into a truck and whether or not the town truly needs an aerial.
"Is it absolutely necessary to have a ladder truck?" Richardson questioned. "I mean is that something that we absolutely need? I know it would be good to have, but do we really need it?"
Board member Corky Sheppard spoke up refuting Richardson's comments.
"There's a need here for it, definitely," Sheppard expressed. "All downtown Woodruff is two-story buildings ... If we just go with another engine we're just duplicating service like everybody else."
Seidel was not convinced of the necessity of an aerial and stated that he can see an advantage to having one but does not believe it is essential to the town.
Gee adamantly defended an aerial truck by recounting a situation in which an aerial truck would have been a safer, more efficient option.
"We had an incident last set of storms that came through, we had power lines on a house, the power lines and the trees were blocking the only exit from the house," Gee recounted. "Our training is all wires are live when they're on the ground, unless someone tells us differently. If these began arcing we'd have a definite fire situation, there's no way out of this house. We had to remove three people from the house - one of which stated they had just had knee surgery, another said they had back surgery - we removed them using step ladders and what we had from the deck of the house, because that was the only way to do it. It was difficult for myself and the other firefighter there to do this; we did have some risk to those people, which fortunately nothing happened to them. If we would have had an aerial we could have swung it right over the top of the deck, we could have set them on it and swung them over on the ground. It would have been faster, it would have been safer."
"It worked out, yeah, we can do it, but there's better ways, there's far better ways. This would be a completely different conversation if something had gone wrong and that's usually, unfortunately, what it takes in the fire service to get people's attention," Gee concluded.
Richardson then asked if the fire department would be satisfied with a used fire truck.
Gee responded that they could have a discussion about it but need a more open dialogue between the fire department and town board.
"As to this point, there's been a lot of stuff thrown around but there's been really no good back and forth communication ..." Gee expressed. "There's no definite direction here, so pick a direction and if you guys want to have a conversation let's sit down with the people it affects the most, or the people that have to make those decisions, and talk about it."
As discussion dwindled down, Seidel made a motion that Gee, a representative from the Woodruff Fire Department, and Richardson vet a truck Richardson found to determine if it is a viable option for the town of Woodruff.
Chairman Mike Timmons, also Woodruff's fire chief, recused himself from the fire truck discussion.
Salt shed update
The board approved the salt shed to have steel siding and roofing with the roof being brown and the siding being a shade of brown to match to other buildings in town.
The options the board chose from are vinyl, shingles and steel.
Abbey McEnroe may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.