Paying it forward

Storm Lake Department gives truck to Ventura

by Marianne Gasaway

In the midst of the season of giving, the Ventura community is finding itself very blessed.

A Nov. 3 rollover accident took Ventura’s 2000 Freightliner Pumper fire truck out of commission.   But in the true spirit of firefighter brotherhood, the Storm Lake Fire Department offered a recently retired 1981 Hendickson fire engine to the City of Ventura free of charge.

“There is no better example of brotherhood within the fire service then a situation like this. Upon hearing about our situation from their Toyne Fire Apparatus representative as they took delivery of a new fire engine, they opted to direct their old engine to Ventura,” explained Ventura Fire Chief John Quintus.

The chief said he had been visiting with a representative from Toyne Apparatus about a new fire truck the department has been raising funds for before the accident occurred.  However, the Sunday morning after the rollover he sent an email inquiring about leasing opportunities and asked for a call back on Monday.

“Within 10-minutes he called me back, concerned about what had happened,” explained Quintus.  “There was nothing available for leasing at that time, but less than a week later he told the Storm Lake Fire Department about our situation when delivering new equipment to them.  They told him to tell us to come and get theirs.”

“We are so very thankful that our firemen escaped with only minor injuries in the accident and that Storm Lake was willing to step up in our time of need.”

Quintus said training has been completed on the new truck and all equipment has been loaded onboard.  It is ready to roll in case of emergency.

According to the Storm Lake Pilot-Tribune, the Storm Lake City Council gave its blessing for the gift in a unanimous vote, after learning that no departments in the county had inquired about the truck.  Public safety director Mark Prosser said the fire engine had virtually no value on the resale market, and noted that the SLFD does not want it back.

Ventura City Clerk Else Taylor said the gifted-fire engine has value to Ventura, not only in terms of providing safety equipment, but in financial savings.  If the city had been forced to lease a fire engine, the cost would have been $300 per day, according to Taylor.  Insurance would have paid a maximum of $15,000 for a lease.

The city is still negotiating with its insurance carrier regarding replacement of the 20-year-old truck which was damaged in the rollover.  If the apparatus is declared as totaled, the city could expect to receive 75 percent of the $380,000 value of the  fire engine.

Ventura Fire Department leaders say they hope the former Storm Lake truck can be passed on to the next department in need when their new truck arrives.

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