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Milltown VFD seeks $300,000 to purchase new pumper

Milltown VFD seeks $300,000 to purchase new pumper
Milltown VFD seeks $300,000 to purchase new pumper
Ilustration by Christy Yost

County officials are now considering their second large investment in fire protection for 2019. The Milltown Volunteer Fire Dept. needs a new pumper to continue to meet standards and is asking for $300,000 to purchase a replacement.
The request comes following the approval of the Harrison County Fire Chiefs Association’s three-year agreement earlier this year.
The agreement began as a way for county officials to know some of the big needs the nine volunteer fire departments in the county were facing and to give the county council time to make sure it can fund those requests.
Clint Murdock, assistant chief of the Milltown Volunteer Fire Dept., told the Harrison County Council during its meeting Feb. 25 his department initially wanted to wait another year before making the request. However, discussions with the fire chiefs association ended with Milltown getting to ask first.
‘They all mutually agreed we should go ahead and ask for it this year,’ Murdock said.
The agreement also is a chance for the county’s volunteer fire departments to work together to prioritize the needs to best serve the county.
In Milltown, the fire department needs a new pumper.
‘One is becoming unsafe to operate,’ Murdock told the Harrison County commissioners earlier in February.
The commissioners unanimously agreed to allow Murdock to take the request to the Harrison County Council.
The 1986 truck that needs replaced doesn’t meet Insurance Service Office standards, which uses a rating system to determine how well equipped a fire department is to protect the community it serves.
The ISO requires the department to have two pumpers that pump 750 gallons a minute, but a truck has to be less than 25 years old, according to Murdock. So, the 1986 truck wasn’t even considered into the latest rating for Milltown.
The department’s other truck is from 2006.
Murdock told the council last week that firefighters have to raise the truck’s RPM to keep up the water pressure.
The fire department plans to spend approximately $18,000 from its own account on equipment to go in and with the pumper, if funding for the pumper is approved by the council.
The council could decide on the pumper at its next meeting, set for Monday at 7 p.m. at the Government Center.
The MVFD has received $160,000 from the county for equipment since 1999, according to Murdock. That’s the lowest amount for any of the nine fire departments.
Other aspects of the agreement call for New Middletown VFD to purchase a tanker that would cost $350,000 in 2020.
The final year, $500,000 would go toward a new fire station for the Palmyra Volunteer Fire Dept.
The fire chiefs association is not supposed to ask for more than $500,000 a year but can do so as long as it does not go over $1 million in a two-year span.
The association’s latest agreement is for 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Already this year, the council approved spending $310,000 for new breathing apparatuses for firefighters with the Harrison Township Fire Dept.