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Decatur Volunteer Fire Department gets new truck

For the first time in its 25-year existence, the Decatur Volunteer Fire Department has a new fire truck.

Gene Cox, Decatur’s assistant fire chief, said it’s hard to express how he felt about getting the new truck.

However, he could describe it as “the Cadillac of fire trucks.”

The truck, manufactured by America Lafrance, comes with all the bells and whistles. It is built on a Freightliner chassis, has a Mercedes engine, a foam tank, an electrical generator and plenty of space for all their fire equipment.

It even has a device that puts chains on tires for winter driving.

“It’s one of the finest trucks on the road,” Cox said. “It’s all geared toward rapid response and capability.”

Best of all, it isn’t as scary as the 1979 fire truck it replaced. In the old truck, you could see the road through the holes in the cab’s floor.

Cox said he expects the new truck to have years of service.

“I’m 56 years old and I expect it will be here 20 years after I’m dead and gone,” he said.

Cox said the fire department was lucky to get a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security to pay for the new truck. He said he wasn’t sure if their closeness to Dean State Forest and Wayne National Forest helped in the grant.

“I would think so,” he said. “That’s something they look at when they decide grants.”

Besides the new fire truck, the fire department recently got two other vehicles, although neither is new. One is a tanker truck that came from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. It can haul 5,000 gallons of water and was once used to carry jet fuel. It’s a 1980 model but it has only 47,000 miles on it.

“We now have the largest tanker in Lawrence County,” Cox said. “Which is good because we have mutual aid agreements with a lot of other fire departments.”

The other vehicle is an ambulance from Coal Grove, which the Decatur VFD uses to haul their Jaws of Life extraction equipment that is used to get people out of crashed cars. There are eight people on the squad certified to use the Jaws of Life.

“We’re really grateful for it,” Cox said.

“Hopefully, we can save people and people’s property,” Cox said. “That’s what we are here for.”