By Regina Butler/Pontotoc Progress
PONTOTOC – More than 100 residents turned out in the midday sun Tuesday to look at the 12 new fire trucks that were delivered to Pontotoc County.
Pontotoc County Fire Coordinator Terry Wages said he was “excited about this day. This is a huge, huge day for our county.”
He recognized Larry Barr, state fire coordinator and Brad Smith, deputy coordinator.
“I appreciate every thing y’all did to help us get these trucks,” Wages said.
Barr was on hand to represent Mississippi Insurance commissioner Mike Chaney and to present Pontotoc County with a check for $330,000. This money came through the Rural Fire Truck Acquisition Assistance Program.
Through this program, supervisors were able to participate in five rounds of grants. The first round was for $50,000 and the next four were for $70,000.
The new trucks will serve the towns of Algoma, Beckham, Ecru, Furrs, Hurricane, Longview, Pontotoc, Randolph, Sherman, Thaxton, Toccopola and Troy-Woodland.
Barr said that department of insurance figures show the state has invested $31 million in the rural fire truck programs. “And as of today with these 12 trucks the money has bought 578 new trucks.”
Barr said homeowners have saved an estimated $50 million a year on insurance premiums. State Sen. Nickey Browning of Pontotoc said many counties do not take advantage of the program.
“Pontotoc County supervisors have been active in purchasing 23 trucks for the county since this program began in 1995,” Browning said.
It was through this program that the first trucks came to the county.
“This is monies that all counties can participate in getting,” he said.
The 12 new trucks came with equipment that will be installed over the next couple of weeks.
In addition, representatives from Pro-Fire will train all the firemen on the new trucks.
Sometime before the end of the month, all the trucks should have the necessary equipment and be ready to take the trucks to a fire.
The fire trucks had to be ordered because trucks that have been on the county roads soon will be out of compliance as the main truck, a situation that would have driven down the rating of the fire districts.