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Miss. FD gets first new fire engine in over 30 years

State funding has helped Richmond volunteer firefighters purchase a new fire engine and other equipment


Richmond Volunteer Fire Department/Google Maps

By Caleb McCluskey
Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

TUPELO, Miss. — The Richmond Volunteer Fire Department just received a shot in the arm with the purchase of a brand new fire truck using state funding.

The Lee County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously during a Monday morning meeting to approve a $707,853 purchase of a fully equipped fire truck from international fire equipment manufacturer Rosenbauer.

Former Richmond Volunteer Fire Chief Joe Banik, who helmed the effort to get the new truck, said it was three years in the making. The department partnered with state legislators to get the funds.

The truck was delivered Monday.

“This is our first off-the-lot fire truck since 1992 when we started, and we are just very proud of it,” Banik said, noting that while he stepped down as chief in April because of health concerns, he is still involved with and volunteers at the department. “Everything our fire department does, we are doing God’s work.”

[DOWNLOAD: How to buy apparatus (eBook)]

The funding for the purchase was through two allotments of bond money from the state Legislature totaling $708,000. Lee County Chancery Court Clerk Bill Benson said while the equipment and truck were fairly expensive, the volunteer fire department sorely needed it. The leftover funding, he said, will probably go to other equipment for the department.

While Richmond is unincorporated in southeast Lee County near the Itawamba County line, the area the department covers is much larger than the community boundaries.

Banik said the new fire truck will help protect their district’s fire rating, which is a 7 out of 10. Fire ratings are a 10 to 1 scale, with 10 being the worst and one being the best. These ratings are used to determine insurance rates for businesses and residents, among other items.

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