REDWOOD — Officials serving the Redwood Fire District plan to purchase a new rescue pumper for the volunteer fire department, but a portion of their funding must receive taxpayer approval.
The district board of fire commissioners will hold a special election for voters in the district to determine whether it can bond for $200,000 to help purchase a $475,000 rescue pumper. The special election is planned from 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 20 at the fire hall, 43676 Stine Road.
Board Chairman Stephen Umstead said the other $275,000 will derive from the board’s truck replacement fund, general fund and about $13,000 from the fire department.
The existing, decades-old rescue pumper was removed from service in the winter because it would not pass inspection, said Fire Chief Zachary A. Cullen, adding that the frame had rotted and the pump was shot. While the department remains functional, losing the rescue pumper has proved cumbersome, forcing firefighters to move their equipment from the rescue pumper to a pickup truck and rely on an older, regular pumper, a brush truck and a tanker.
“We’re now at a point where it’s time to replace” the rescue pumper, Mr. Cullen said. “It’s something that’s necessary.”
In contrast with a regular pumper, Mr. Umstead said a rescue pumper can sit six firefighters, four of whom would sit in jump seats and have immediate access to air packs, and hold jaws of life and other firefighting equipment. The board would purchase a demo model in favor of a customized one to save money, Mr. Cullen said.
Mr. Umstead said he was uncertain whether bonding for $200,000 will raise taxes for property owners in the district, but believes the board may not have to raise them. If taxes had to be raised, Mr. Umstead said he believed they would only increase by cents.
“I think the people of the district will hopefully see the need for us to have a truck that will last us 25 years before we have to upgrade again,” Mr. Umstead said.
The Redwood Volunteer Fire Department is manned by about 40 firefighters.