By Jonathan Cannon
DENISON, Texas — Set just inside the bay doors of Denison's Central Fire Station is a new fire truck awaiting its next call. The new pumper truck, which arrived in mid-December, is replacing a 17-year-old truck that will now be used by the department as a reserve engine.
"We have a replacement program where we have to replace an engine every so many years," Denison Fire Chief Gordon Weger said. He said the engine that is being replaced has reached the end of its useful life for the city.
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The old engine was also in need of replacement because it was nearing the age at which the city will no longer receive credit for it on its Insurance Service Office, or ISO, rating as a primary engine. The rating is used by insurance companies to calculate home insurance premiums. The city can still receive credit on its ISO rating for the old truck as a reserve engine.
Weger said the department decided to purchase a custom truck this time. "The primary difference is the safety factor for the firemen," he said.
Weger explained that the new truck features a computer safety system that can detect a rollover as it is happening and automatically tighten the seat belts. The cab also includes airbags around the top of the cab to protect riders in the event of an accident.
"If we have an accident in that vehicle, the firemen certainly have a much better chance of coming out of it uninjured," Weger said.
The cab also has additional space in the area where the firefighter ride. Weger said the extra space gives firefighters the room to put on their air packs en route to a fire, so, when they arrive, "they will be completely bunkered out with their air packs on," Weger said.
The city paid $373,500 for the truck. The price is $125,249 less than the original invoice because the company used the truck for demonstration purposes. The city will pay for the truck over 10 years at an interest rate of 2.42 percent, said Denison Finance Director Renee Waggonner. She said the first payment was already budgeted in this year's budget.
The Denison City Council approved the purchase in November.
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