East Oktibbeha receives $300k pump truck

East Oktibbeha Fire Chief Greg Ball inspects the new pump truck delivered by Goldy’s Fire Apparatus of Tupelo on Tuesday (Photos by Ryan Phillips)

Ryan Phillips
SDN Editor

All that was missing was a giant bow on top of a new piece of emergency equipment that is sure to pay dividends to Oktibbeha County residents while adding a new tool for safety. 

On Tuesday, Tupelo-based Goldy’s Fire Apparatus delivered a brand new, totally customized 21-ton pumper truck to the East Oktibbeha Fire Department, which saw the eyes of firefighters light up like children on Christmas morning. 

“It’s Christmas come early,” laughed East Oktibbeha Fire Chief Greg Ball. “This will help with the insurance rating. The rating bureau requires a 15-year-old truck to be retired, so on this kind of chassis, 15 years is the max they can go, and to still be rated it has to stay under that 15 years. This will help under the new expanded district we’re doing.” 

The new pumper, which has a Freightliner chassis with the specs built by Rosenbaur, brings the total number of trucks for the East Oktibbeha Fire Department to 10 and provides new technology geared toward efficacy and safety for the firefighters using it. 

With numerous bells and whistles on the truck, Ball said what will likely help his department the most will be the front bumper turret, which will keep firefighters out of traffic when they are responding to calls on the highway — namely when on the scene for vehicle fires. 

He also pointed to the advanced scene lighting and a specialized 35-foot ladder as other new features. 

“Standard, it comes with just a 24-foot, so we opted out to get a 35-foot ladder for the apartment complexes this go around,” Ball said. 

With a 1,250-gallon tank, Ball said the new truck will be a much-needed addition to the department’s roster of trucks, as the other two pumpers were bought brand new in 2007 and 2003. 

Ball then said the truck was paid for by a combination of funds from the county budget, along with money allocated by the state Legislature and other federal funds. 

“This is going to help the community of Sessums, Osborn, Bel Air, University Estates, and this truck will respond to all those locations,” Ball said. 

Steve Golding, owner of Goldy’s Fire Apparatus, said the new truck cost just shy of $300,000 as he lauded the new features on the rig. 

He then explained some of his favorites that he believes will greatly benefit the department. 

“The top control with the newer IC control handles that squeeze, there’s no longer a turn lock that you have to unlock,” Golding said. “You gave the LED scene lights and telescoping lights all over the place to illuminate the scene at night, we have enclosed storage for the dump tank.” 

Other new features he mentioned include the side panels of the truck, which open up completely and are hinged from top to bottom to allow for easier access to the pump compartment as the truck ages.

“The truck’s designed based on several previous designs to best meet the needs of department in their particular area,” he said. “On the rear of the truck, there is long light bar that goes from side to side, that’s a traffic manager for working a wreck scene to direct traffic to whichever side of the truck is safe and it also functions as a warning light during responses to the scene.”

Another major piece of technology on the new rig is a backup camera, so the driver can see what’s behind them. All around the truck are different easily overlooked aspects aimed at promoting the safety of the firefighters on the scenes. 

“Historically (backup cameras are) a problem they have always seen, so that alleviates that problem, then the big chevrons on the rear of the truck provide for maximum visual impact so nobody will run into the rear end,” he said. 

Ball said he had seen pictures and videos of the truck during the different phases of it’s construction, but he and other firefighters stood in awe at the culmination of months of work. 

“This is first time seen it in person,” Ball said. “We’ve been planning on this for a year, through the process of getting all the specs together, me and my assistant chief and others in the department have been working for a year now.”