Search for truck leads to grant

$1.2 million package insures MOFD will get two new engines

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Just weeks after acquiring land for a new state-of-the-art facility, the Mount Olive Fire Department took another step toward the future last Friday afternoon.

Robert Hosford, North Carolina director of United States Agricultural Department (USDA) Rural Development, presented MOFD with a $1.2 million loan/grant package to purchase two new fire engines.

Assistant Fire Chief Jonathan Scott and Hosford signed the papers during a brief ceremony.

“This is great for the community here in Mount Olive, [it] is great for the state of North Carolina to be able to work alongside of the USDA funding sources that are here,” said Brian Taylor of the NC Department of Insurance.

Department Chief Greg Wiggins appointed a four-person committee comprised of Scott, Jordan Hansen (assistant fire chief) and Captains Will Bryan and Marshall Henson to come up with the specifics on buying a new engine. The quartet visited other fire departments in the region and collected data about their trucks.

The department originally intended to replace its 1996 engine.

Discussion soon involved its 2001 model as well.

“We bought the 1996 truck when it was new, so it’s well over 20 years old,” Scott said. “It’s had a tough life. There’s not a lot of miles on these fire engines, but you look at the hours that’s put on these fire engines. Usually around 20 years, we like to look at replacing it.

“We looked at everything about the truck, from the front bumper to the back…lot of hard work and a lot of detail goes into the spec of a truck.”

MOFD plans to purchase a pair of Pierce Enforcer Pumper trucks that will have a greater capacity to pump water — 1,500 gallons per minute compared to 1,250 from the older models currently in use.

Scott said the identical trucks will not increase their efficiency on fire-related calls, but allow room for growth in the future.

The only difference is one engine will have the American flag on its grill, while the other will bear the North Carolina flag.

The town’s board of commissioners unanimously approved the hiring of Goldsboro firm Smith Engineering and Design to conduct an architectural feasibility study for the new fire department complex. The decision should help the town speed up its effort to provide fire protection for its residents during the next 50-plus years.

The 20,000-square-foot facility is scheduled for construction on a 5-acre tract of land off of Bell Avenue.

Wiggins and Jammie Royall, interim town manager, continue to seek funds to build the new department.

Royall said town officials recently met with Congressman Mike Rouzer about federal assistance. Royall described it as an “informative meeting” and felt the congressman could open the doors for funding.

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