An ordinance passed by the city council appropriating funds in the amount of $115,200 to the Conway Fire Department from the Sanitation Department will allow for the repair of a "lengthy list" of equipment, according to Conway Fire Chief Bart Castleberry.
Castleberry approached the City Council on June 22 and requested funding for the repair of the equipment, including several transmission and engine replacements.
“These are not minor problems. The trucks are older. They look good because our personnel takes so much pride in keeping them looking good, but like anything that runs as hard and as frequently as our trucks do, there is just a lot of wear and tear on them,” Castleberry said. “When we get these things fixed, we should be set for the rest of the year.”
Castleberry said that there are some small-item repairs, but that the majority of the repairs are “big-ticket items” that if left unattended could put the fire department “completely out of service.”
“Money has been so tight this year and we’ve already used up the maintenance funds given to us to keep our trucks running,” Castleberry said. “On several different occasions we’ve had up to three trucks completely out of service, and if one more truck had gone down, we would have had to shut down a station.”
A pumping apparatus on Engine 5 failed to go into gear following a house call in May. The fire was reported at 9:44 a.m. and firefighters, along with Engine 5, arrived at 9:49. It was not until 9:53 however, that the pump gear was able to be engaged on the engine, at which time responders were able to enter the residence.
The fire resulted in the death of several house pets, though Castleberry said he could not determine if the animals would have survived had Engine 5 been operational.
“The money given to us in the ordinance will allow us to go ahead and fix those things that really need repair,” Castleberry said. “When we get all of those things fixed we should be in good shape.”
Repairs to the equipment are currently under way.
“We knew what we needed. We already had the list in place by the maintenance technician,” said CFD Public Information Officer Amy Springer, “and there has been a truck in the shop since the day that the ordinance was approved.”
Castleberry also said that a new truck is on order and should be available to the department in February.
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