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Local fire department receives $10K grant

DECATUR TOWNSHIP — With its heavily forested hills and ATV trails, Decatur Township is a sportsman’s dream. But when tragedy strikes, helping the helpless can quickly become a firefighter’s or first responder’s nightmare. Enter some assistance.

The Decatur Township Volunteer Fire Department has gotten a $10,000 grant from the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office to purchase a multi-utility vehicle (MUV), similar to an all-terrain vehicle, which can be used when a regular vehicle just won’t work.

Fire Chief Gene Cox said the Honda 4×4 will be extremely useful, for instance when rescuing people who become injured while hunting or hiking and are miles from the nearest road.

“The way it is now, we don’t have anything. If someone gets hurt we either pack them out or call another department. And that can take time,” Cox explained. He can recall countless times when an MUV would have made a hard job safer or faster — or both.

“We had a forest fire once and we had to walk about three-quarters of a mile just to get to the fire because it was a ways back.”

Decatur sees it share of forest fires. The MUV can be used to take not only firefighters but also equipment to the fire.

“And if the winds shift, you may have to outrun the fire,” Cox said.

The vehicle was purchased from Harmon’s Motor Sports on South Third Street, meaning money that came into Lawrence County will stay in Lawrence County.

“They bent over backward helping us make this purchase,” Cox said.

The new vehicle won’t sit unused. Cox said other departments may request Decatur’s assistance when they need the vehicle.

Plans are to fit it with a 100-gallon water tank and hose as well as other tools. He hopes other necessities such as a winch, emergency lights and a trailer to haul it will be donated by concerned citizens and area businesses.

Anyone wishing to donate may call Cox at 643-2120, the fire department at 643-0404 or any other Decatur firefighter.