When CC Camp Volunteer Fire Department’s board of directors started looking for a new first-run engine to take lead over its 1991 engine, fire officials had a couple of goals in mind — one of which was saving taxpayer dollars.
“We had a 1991 engine and it was 26-years old. We saw a need to grow, so we were in the market for a new engine,” explained Chief Lanny Whitaker.
But the quotes on new engines were coming in anywhere from $650,000 to $750,000, so they decided to look at pre-owned trucks and hit the jackpot.
“We found one in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, so we called and asked some questions and, after approval from the board of directors, myself and Deputy Chief Dustan Murphy drive up and back in one day. We looked at it, we pumped with it, we drive it. It needed some minor repairs, and they agreed to fix it and repaint it to our specs,” Whitaker said.
After sharing a slideshow of pictures taken during their visit and sharing with the board what they thought of the truck, the directors agreed on a purchase price of $180,000. The truck had 21,000 miles, and the engine had 2,400 hours.
“The price included them painting the truck to our specs and updating all the lights because they run blue and red, and we can’t have blue in North Carolina,” said the chief.
Once the purchase price and agreement was made, Whitaker said the board was able to secure a loan for $200,000, with the funds including the purchase of the new engine, a custom cab that will transport four firefighters, as well as a foam system for the truck, automatic chains for winter weather, some hose and loose equipment like hand tools.
The lettering on the truck, including the reflective striping that has a shadow of the American flag worked into it, was done by Xtreme! Marketing in Pilot Mountain.
“The main reason for the purchase [of the truck] was a step in the direction for us to lower the insurance rating in the district,” Whitaker said. “Our goal is, once we get that truck and the money to buy the rest of the equipment, is to lower property owners’ insurance rates 45 to 50 percent.”
While the district is now rated a 9S, Whitaker said the eventual goal is to get it to a 5 rating.
Part of the 2-cent fire tax rate increase that the department requested from the Surry County commissioners was to cover the cost of the additional equipment needed for the truck to make that insurance rating change possible, Whitaker said. A portion of the increase also would have put a part-time paid firefighter in the station during peak hours.
He said one cent on the fire tax generates about $18,000 for CC Camp, and would have cost each household about $20 annually.
“We have saved the citizens of the fire district $400,000 to $500,000 by purchasing a pre-owned truck,” Whitaker noted. “I’m tickled to death with it.”
There may not always be four firefighters at the station to put in the truck as it responds to a call, Whitaker said it will come in very handy while on the scene of fires or other emergencies when the outside temperature is 95 degrees so people can cool off in it, or when they respond to calls on Interstate 77 in the winter and travelers are stranded so they have a place to warm up.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.