Homes and businesses covered by Liberty County ESD No. 7 (Hardin Fire and Rescue) now have a new ladder truck to help protect them in the event of a fire. The ladder truck was purchased this week for $40,000 from the City of Deer Park.
While the Pierce brand ladder truck may be a used 1995 model, ESD No. 7 President Klint Bush says it has several more years of use and is in immaculate condition.
“The City of Deer Park, when they purchased this truck new, spared no expense. It has all the bells and whistles. It has a lot of capacity and options. It will spray water from a height of 65 feet,” Bush said. “The truck is in showroom condition. We drove it and it’s been tested to make sure everything works properly. We put new tires on it and are looking at putting it into service in the next few days.”
The truck comes at a time of great need for ESD No. 7. Earlier this year, the department’s fire engine was involved in an accident that may end up with it being totaled.
“Someone crossed the median line of the highway and our firefighters had to take evasive action to avoid hitting them. It almost rolled the truck. It bent the frame as the engine was bouncing down the road. They all were very lucky to have not been injured or killed,” Bush said.
Since then the fire engine has been at a repair shop. ESD No. 7 commissioners are working with the agency’s insurance carrier to see if the truck needs to be totaled or can be repaired.
“Our current engine is valued at $200,000. What we are trying to do is make it another 12 months without taking on more debt. We have been paying off debt for the last couple of years so that in 24 more months we can go make a $1 million loan to get a new fire station in Moss Hill and purchase a new fire engine,” Bush said. “We try to be very conservative with our money. We don’t want a lot of debt. We are committed, as a board, that we are not going to ask the taxpayers for more money. We will just spend the money we have wisely like fiscally-conservative governments should.”
When shopping for a new truck, Bush said the goal was to get a “new” used fire engine and were overjoyed when the opportunity came about to purchase a ladder truck instead. According to Bush, this is the first time that Hardin Fire and Rescue has owned a ladder truck since the agency was first founded as Hardin Volunteer Fire Department in 1953.
“The history of Hardin’s fire department is long and treasured. We are working hard to build on the foundation of years of hard work by those who came before us,” Bush said.
ESD No. 7 has a coverage territory of 153 square miles. Its borders go as far north as Snake River on SH 146 and as far south as FM 2830. The communities and subdivisions of Hardin, Moss Hill, Tanner Settlement, Marysee, Snake River, Coronado Acres and Knights Forest are included in its coverage zone.