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The Troup County Board of Commissioners discussed purchasing four new fire engines at Thursday’s meeting. -- File Photo

Troup Commission discusses buying new fire trucks

By Alicia B. Hill
The Valley Times-News

On Thursday, the Troup County Board of Commissioners discussed the purchase of four new fire engines to replace engines that have been in use in the county for nearly three decades.

The new fire engines were earmarked to be paid for using SPLOST V funds and will replace 1988, 1990, 1993 and 1994 model fire engines with new fire engines. The question on Thursday was what kind of engines the county should purchase.

Troup County Fire Chief Dennis Knight explained the commercial and custom options available that could meet the county’s needs and be the best value for taxpayer money.

The commercial engine was priced at $387,357, and the custom engine was priced at $452,283.

However, Knight said that he believed the custom truck would still make sense due to the longer lifespans that he has seen the trucks have. He noted custom fire engines can often handle more weight, are easier and safer for fire fighters to get in and out of and hold up better in an accident.

“None of the commercial offerings of Freightliner, International, Kenworth could meet the specifications like the custom cab does,” Knight said.

“With our current Freightliner trucks, we have reached the capacity that they were designed to carry. If anymore personnel or equipment was added to those trucks, we are overweight. We are overloaded, and that causes excessive tire wear. It reduces the stability of the vehicle. It makes it handle very poorly while responding to calls.”

Knight said that custom trucks typically last 25 to 30 years, which was 5 to 10 years longer than the estimated lifespan of a commercial engine. Knight also said that custom fire engines would take less time to repair and would make it easier for the Troup County Fire Department to reach certain areas.

“The custom trucks are much more maneuverable,” Knight said.

“It’s got shorter cab length, shorter wheel base. It has got a tighter turning radius. The custom chassis will allow our drivers to negotiate winding driveways and small cul-de-sacs much better than the commercial.”

The commission spent roughly half an hour discussing the details of the trucks in the meeting in addition to additional research outside the meeting.

“I sat down with the chief and went through the specs and also with Eric [Mosley, the county manager],” Commissioner Ellis Cadenhead said.

“They went over them pretty tight trying to convince me that the commercial truck would not be better, and they did a pretty good job. I asked them to go back and do some more behind the scenes work on this, and they did.”

The Troup County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to meet again on Tuesday at 9 a.m. at 100 Ridley Avenue.