The Covington City Council has approved a request for the Covington Fire Department to seek bids on a new 100-foot aerial platform truck. Fire Chief Jeremy Holmes estimates the apparatus could cost around $1.6 million and take 18-24 months to build and deliver.
Holmes briefed the council on the need for the specialized truck at their budget work session at the Covington Municipal Airport on May 27.
Holmes said the Fire Department no longer has the older 100-foot aerial truck and are in “high need” of a new one.
“We just had a fire at Magnolia Heights Apartments that was all the way up into the attic,” Holmes said, referring to the May 24 fire that forced 12 families to find new housing. He said while firefighters did a great job of suppressing the fire and getting everyone out, the aerial platform could have been used for fire suppression or rescue. And with several more multi-story apartment complexes slated to be built in the next several years, the need for the truck is growing.
Holmes said they have looked at specifications for a mid-mount platform from a company that was building the truck for another department.
“It is around $1.6 million,” Holmes said. “We were figuring it would be somewhere around that price, and we’ll have to put it out for bid.”
Council member Don Floyd, who was the Covington fire chief from 1999-2012, noted that the costs have gone up.
“To show you how much things have gone up,” Floyd said, “the 100-foot platform that I bought cost $472,000.”
Assistant Finance Director Ashlan Troutman Webb told the council at the budget work session that they expect the payment for the truck to be about the same as the payment for Station 22, which will be paid off in September.
“We’ve been spending about $125,000 in debt service year over year to pay off Station 22,” Webb said. “That is coming off the books in September, so if we purchase the truck through a GMA lease, we would have the funds. We would project to pay it off in five-10 years, with keeping our payment around $125,000 to $150,000. That’s what we’ve been spending every year on the fire station.”
Floyd advised Holmes to get everything he needs on the aerial platform when he orders it.
“That’s a major purchase that will be used for a long time,” Floyd said. “Get what is needed on that fire truck. You can’t go back and retro-fit that, so get it now.”