Mayor Mitch Thompson and the Board of Aldermen hailed delivery of the city's new firetruck Friday, timely evidence of their intentions to keep the city's residents safe.
"We are doing all we can to preserve the safety and well-being of our citizens," Thompson said. "The truck we are replacing was a 1979 LaFrance that decided it was tired so we felt the best move was to purchase a new truck that will hopefully take us years into the future."
"It's a 2004 Freightliner, brand new," said Fire Chief Randy Baker who was rehired to the position by the Board of Aldermen April 19. "This is a pumper. It holds 1,000 gallons of water."
Brian Franz, truck specialist for Battalion Three, the fire apparatus and equipment company located in Arnold which sold the city the truck, said the two-door truck boasts a 300-horsepower motor and the truck's water pump moves 1,250 gallons per minute.
The last truck purchased for the Miner Fire Department was also a 1,000-
gallon pumper, a '94 model purchased in 1995.
"One truck always stays in town to protect the citizens of Miner," Baker said. The second pumper is used to help cover the Scott County Rural Fire District and the Sikeston Fire Protection District, although it also can be called upon to fight fires in the city.
The fire department's fleet also includes two brush trucks which are four-
wheel drive vehicles used to put out brush and grass fires.
In addition to upgrading equipment, the fire department is also rebuilding its staff following a shakeup in the department that resulted in the former fire chief, Benny Thurston, and more than half of the volunteer firefighters leaving the department.
"Seven firefighters did stay with the department," Baker said. "We have 12 on our force right now and we are adding to it."
Baker said the department is considered fully staffed at 20.
"We've always had a good fire department," Baker said. "We've got a bunch of good guys."
Baker said splitting the code enforcement officer and building inspector duties off from the fire chief job was a good decision.
"Actually I think it will work better," he said. "That way each of them will be able to better concentrate on their job."
Thompson also said he wanted to clear up a misunderstanding about how Baker left the fire chief position previously.
"Present Fire Chief Randy Baker was not fired from the city. Chief Baker resigned to take a position that could pay him more money than the city could offer," he said. "The mayor and Board all want to express their deepest gratitude to Chief Baker, Assistant Chief (James) Buckley and the new group of firefighters for stepping up and helping us out when we were left without a fire department. These men are greatly appreciated and our full support goes to them all. We will continue to rebuild the department as long as it takes. Regardless of rumors, the city and its citizens are our first priority."