I heard we don’t need an aerial fire truck in Atchison.

 In Rumors

The aerial fire truck is very important to our community because it provides protection of public safety. This is especially true for the industrial plants in town. These industrial plants, such as Bradken, Bartlett Grain Company and MGP and others, present a challenging environment for firefighters to operate in.

To ensure it receives the maximum life possible from its equipment, the Fire Department maintains an equipment replacement program which outlines replacement intervals for all apparatus and some of the department’s major equipment. Based on the age of the apparatus/equipment, hours of use, parts availability, and multiple other factors that affect the operation of the equipment, it was established that aerial trucks should be replaced between 30 and 35 years of service. Due to budget constraints, it has been necessary to delay replacement of department’s 1980 100’ Aerial ladder Platform Apparatus and it is now 34 years of age.

In addition, the city is rated by the Insurance Service Office (ISO), which assesses building codes, fire protection service and water supply in individual communities and ranks them based on how these communities enforce their building codes, provide fire service and provide availability of water. The ranking scale is between 1 and 10; 1 being the highest and 10 being the lowest. The ratings reflect the insurance rates. For example, the better the rating, the lower the insurance rate. The city was rated as a 4, whereas the portions of Atchison County are rated as a 10.

Also, I heard the city sold the old fire truck for almost nothing. Is this true?

It is true that the city sold the existing fire truck, but we did not sell it for nothing. The city utilized a national online website specializing in government purchases to sell the fire truck. The truck sold to a gentleman from the Houston Texas area after he saw the truck’s availability online. The truck is a highly specialized unit requiring an excessive amount of maintenance, and most fire departments don’t have a large enough garage to store a unit of this size. The truck was also getting to the point that parts were not readily available for the unit. So the department was forced with either trying to find a part from a scrapped vehicle or dealing with the expense of having a machinist produce a part. The fire department did a calculation of the scrap value of the fire truck and it was sold for a greater amount than it was worth. In the end, the fire truck sold for $6,200. In talking to the auction company, we believe the truck sold for a price that is consistent with the how much people pay for a truck its age.