In an effort to replace a 1981 fire truck and possibly improve the city's ISO rating, the Alexandria Aldermen Tuesday night voted to authorize the filing of an application for a Community Development Block Grant to purchase a new fire engine.
Alexandria Fire Chief Brian Partridge addressed the issue with the mayor and aldermen during the regular monthly meeting.
The total grant project would be for $331,580 including the city's local matching obligation of $16,580 should the grant be approved.
Speaking to WJLE after the meeting, Chief Partridge said if the grant is approved, the city would have funds to purchase a new custom cab class 1 pumper, which would improve the department's water flow capabilities in fighting fires. By having a new fire truck, Chief Partridge said the city's ISO rating might even go from a 4 to a 3, which could mean lower commercial and homeowners insurance premiums. The city must keep two fire trucks in order to maintain its current ISO rating. Earlier this year, the city learned that the Insurance Services Office raised Alexandria's Public Protection Classification (PPC) rating from a Class 7 to a Class 4.
The Alexandria Fire Department is staffed with twelve volunteers and two fire trucks. The oldest truck, a 1981 model, is on indefinite loan to the city from Wilson County, but would be returned if a new truck is purchased. The other fire truck is a 1997 model. Although the primary engine (1997 truck) is still in good condition and could be used as a backup, Chief Partridge said the 1981 engine has serious mechanical problems and brake system issues.
If the city were to be awarded a grant to purchase a new fire truck, Chief Partridge said no additional equipment would be needed. "We already have the equipment. All the equipment we received from an Assistance to Firefighters Grant four years ago," he said.
It could take up to a year before the city learns if it will get the grant.