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Waynesville Fire Department Gets New Fire Truck

The Waynesville Fire Department recently unveiled a brand-new fire engine worth $800,000, which will be stationed at the Hazelwood Fire Station, replacing an old truck that had been in service for over 25 years. Initially, Fire Chief Joey Webb had planned to purchase a new fire engine upon the completion of the new Hazelwood Fire Station. The town had acquired a piece of land last year for the new station, as the current Hazelwood Fire Station was outdated and cramped, lacking adequate facilities such as bunk and locker rooms.

However, the old fire engine started requiring more frequent repairs, which took it offline for extended periods. As a result, waiting for the new station to become operational no longer seemed practical. Fortunately, the purchase of the new fire engine turned out to be a stroke of luck. Due to ongoing supply chain issues causing a nationwide backlog on fire engine orders, the waiting period was estimated to be 18 months or more. Webb learned about an available engine that had originally been intended for a fire department in Kentucky but became available for purchase at a discounted price due to unforeseen circumstances.

The town council approved the purchase, with the base cost of the fire engine set at $630,000, which increased to $800,000 after the inclusion of additional equipment.

The newly equipped fire engine features state-of-the-art cutting tools designed for rescuing individuals from wrecked vehicles or buildings with reinforced windows, such as the old hospital that was repurposed into affordable housing.

Funding for the fire engine was not derived from the tax contributions of town residents but was instead financed through the fire tax rate paid by those living outside the town limits within the Waynesville fire jurisdiction. The fire tax rate for those outside the town, which had remained unchanged at 6 cents per $100 in property value since 1979, was raised by 2 cents, generating an additional $150,000 annually to cover the costs of the fire engine.

Webb emphasized the fairness of this decision, noting that when property taxes were raised previously to support the hiring of eight additional firefighters, residents outside the town did not experience an increase. Furthermore, residents outside the town limits would benefit from reduced home insurance rates as a result of an improved fire response rating.

Webb highlighted that fire engines represent long-term investments. Throughout the history of the fire department, which dates back to 1912, Waynesville has only had 13 fire trucks.

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