Fire up that engine

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By Scotty McDaniel

Shelbyville Fire and Rescue showed off the newest addition to the city's safety repertoire at the May 1 Shelbyville City Council meeting. Fire Chief Willard Tucker said the 2008 Ferrara Intruder 22 upgrades the fire department's capabilities, and as a result the city's safety.

The new rescue pumper has a number of upgrades from the 1973 Mack truck it's replacing. It's fully automatic with a 400 horsepower engine and possesses an impressive turning radius. It contains a spacious interior that can haul more firefighters as well as many storage compartments for rescue equipment. One of the most important improvements, Tucker said, is that the pumper contains a 1500-gallon-per-minute pump, compared to the 1000-gallon-per-minute pump that the '73 truck had.

Along with those improvements, it's also loaded with state-of-the-art equipment. The Shelbyville Fire and Rescue website lists the items: "FireCom intercom system; On Spot chains; Extend-A-Gun deck gun extension; FoamPro 2001; Left and right side full height rescue compartments; Rear ladder storage between high sides and tank; All LED warning lights; 2 NightFighter 12V telescopic scene lights; Extrication system with two electric rewind hydraulic hose reels."

Overall, Tucker said the truck will allow the fire department to be more flexible when responding to emergencies.

"With all the rescue tools on the truck, we can better respond to both a) fire, or b) injury accidents," Tucker said.

The truck cost the city $300,805, which Tucker said is a typical mid-range price. But for that kind of money he said the city got a high quality vehicle.

"We're lucky to have such an experienced selection committee here. They shopped hard for value, and we feel like we got the most for our money," he said.

The order for the custom-built fire engine was placed to Ferrara Fire Apparatus, Inc. in Louisiana last August. Upon its completion, Chief Tucker and Capt. Doug Herndon flew down for a full inspection and pump test on April 29.

The truck arrived in Shelby County on the morning of May 1 and was available for council members to examine outside of city hall.

The Intruder is currently having the proper tools and equipment installed, and Tucker said he expects it to be ready for full use in another week or two.

"Tax payers can rest assured, we got every penny's worth," he said.

At the city council meeting, the council:

* Designated Inez Harris as the city's FEMA applicant agent. She will be responsible for dealing with FEMA and disaster reimbursement for the city.

* Had a second reading and approved an ordinance to replace the old city zoning maps with cleaner, more accurate digital maps as the official zoning maps of the city.

* Recommended that the city move forward with getting the necessary consents from adjoining property owners needed before proposing an ordinance that would close and modify Willis Ave., Old Vine St., Short St. and Equity St.