Morenci fire dept. seeks used aerial truck 2009.09.30

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

For more than three months Morenci Fire Department members have evaluated the purchase of a used aerial truck from Archbold and now they’re ready to make an offer.

That decision received city council’s blessings Monday night with only one dissenting vote.

If Archbold accepts the offer, Morenci’s department will be the new owners of a nearly 35-year-old vehicle with an 85-foot tower. The truck has had only 130 hours of use over the 35 years that Archbold owned it.

Fire chief Chad Schisler said the department would make two $7,500 payments over the next two years, with money coming from savings, donations and fund-raising, and by deferring a $3,500 purchase of other equipment.

Council member Keith Pennington, who cast the lone “no” vote, admitted it was an excellent price for expensive fire equipment.

“I’m more concerned about the on-going costs,” he said.

Insurance and maintenance would add $3,000 to the department’s budget annually, he said, and repairs would increase that amount.

Archbold used the unit an average of less than four hours a year, he noted, and part of that was for training and testing.

“If Archbold didn’t use it much, how would we?” he asked.

Fire officer Brad Lonis said the truck would be used as a third pumper. There are 65 structures in the city limits where an aerial truck could be used, but if it were used only for that purpose, it would sit unused most of the time, he said.

“We plan to use it,” he added.

Lonis said the truck also contain loose ladders valued at $8,000.

“Archbold’s maintenance program is top notch,” he said. “It’s 35 years old, but it’s practically brand new.”

Lonis and department member Bob Mohr emphasized that the unit would make fire-fighting saver for the crew by keeping them off roofs and by providing addition water.

Schisler said there will have to be an increase on the fire department’s budget to handle the new maintenance and insurance costs.

“We have only one pot,” Pennington responded, “and when we give more to the fire department, it has to come from somewhere else.”

Pennington said the city is already under fire from one township board that thinks the city spends too much on fire protection.

Audience member Shane Sarnac suggested that if the department discovers in the future that necessary funding isn’t available, the truck could be sold to “end the bleeding pretty quickly.”

Pennington voted against making an offer for the purchase and councilor Greg Braun was absent from the meeting.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
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  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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