The Wiggins Fire Department is using the 2019 Scarecrow Convention to announce it has ordered the newest fire truck in its fleet.
The Wiggins Board of Aldermen voted at its last meeting to authorize the purchase of Engine 10, a dual-purpose truck which will make firefighting a safer and more efficient endeavor for the department.
Not only will the truck be a pumper, it will also feature a 75-foot ladder.
“This is big for our department and the city of Wiggins,” said WFD Chief Jody Hatten. “Engine 8 will be 22-years-old when this truck is finished and delivered.
“We’ve got the Hampton Inn that’s four-stories tall, we’ve got churches like First Baptist Church which has a steeple that’s above the trees and if something like that were to catch fire we’d have to have firefighters putting themselves in danger climbing on those roofs.
“With a 75-foot ladder, we can put a hose above a fire of that nature and not have firefighters in as great a danger.”
Hatten said his department was grateful to the board for recognizing the need.
“The city has been hesitant to commit that much money and now feels confident they can do this and we really do appreciate it,” he said.
Engine 10 will cost $687,000 and will take approximately one year to be built.
Mayor Joel Miles said it is a difficult thing to balance the needs of the city and the responsibility of being good stewards of the taxpayers’ money.
“On the one hand, it’s a lot of money yet, on the other hand, if it saves one life of a victim of fire or the life of one firefighter, how do you put a price tag on something as precious as that?” he asked.
Hatten said the new truck would be beneficial for training not just Wiggins firefighters, but those of the county’s volunteer departments.
And, the department will utilize the truck in its mutual-aid efforts.
“We will use it wherever it’s needed,” he said.
He also said the cost has to be considered over the life expectancy of the truck.
“It’ll be good for 25 to 30 years,” he said. “It’s a big investment, but a long-term investment.”