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Rural Fire Departments Get More Help When Buying New Trucks

Updated: Thursday, June 26 2014, 09:52 AM CDT
When it's time for a new fire truck it's not like you or I going out and buying a new car.

Depending on the size of the fire truck needed it can cost a department more than one million dollars.

The cost is nearly impossible for small fire departments to cover on their own which is why the state is raising the amount of money offered in their loan program.

Replacing aging fire equipment it's an expensive task for local fire departments especially for small agencies like Chatham.

"For a class one pumper which is what we have here behind us. We are looking at anywhere from $395,000 to around $420,000," said Chief Philip Schumer of the Chatham Fire Department.

Now purchasing new equipment could get a little easier.

Governor Pat  Quinn signed new legislation over the weekend that raises the borrowing cap for loans from $250,000 to $350,000.

"It ends up being a life saver because you are going to put more apparatus in the fire departments around the state of Illinois," said Schumer.

Although new trucks can cost in some cases near one million dollars the loans will have little to no interest.

"Budgets are tight. There are funding issues across the county, across the state and 0% interest loans and an opportunity to get a new vehicle and stretch it over a period of time that's almost every fire departments dream," said Schumer.

The dream of purchasing equipment through the loan program is aimed at small departments, those who sometimes have as little as a $50,000 budget.

But the program could even impact the City of Springfield when they decide to sell their old equipment to small volunteer fire companies.

"We are trying to sell a couple used latter trucks we have now in order to buy a new one out of two old used ones," said Springfield Fire Chief Ken Fustin.

We called more than a dozen volunteer agencies this afternoon from Mechanicsburg to Sherman and all fire chiefs agree the additional money will help purchase better equipment.

The legislation signed over the weekend will take effect immediately.Rural Fire Departments Get More Help When Buying New Trucks


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