FRANKTON — The shutdown of a government program giving used military trucks to rural fire departments will affect local Madison County units.
The Frankton Fire Department currently has a pickup truck it received from the Department of Defense. The pickup truck has been modified with a large tank and fire equipment to battle field fires.
FFD Chief Brandon Leisure said the truck is a 1985 model and the department got it about six years ago.
Leisure said the pickup isn’t nearly as big as some of the department’s trucks but has proved invaluable thanks to its ability to go off road.
“What you get is what you get with the federal government,” Leisure said. “But it was a no-brainer for us. You can either spend $60,000 on a brand-new truck that’s going to get beat up driving through corn fields, or you can spend $3,000 modifying a free truck.”
He said it makes more sense to get a used truck because of the work environment of the truck. He said their truck goes off-roading, has to drive through corn fields and occasionally gets stuck in muddy fields.
The decision to end the giveaway program was due to the Environmental Protection Agency ruling the former military trucks released too many emissions. Leisure said as far as he knows Frankton will get to keep its current truck but it ruins any future plans.
“We were actually looking at trying to get another truck,” Leisure said. “But I don’t think that’s going to happen now.”
Leisure said he isn’t sure where the fire department will go to try and get new trucks now.
“We just don’t have the money to go buy one,” Leisure said. “So we’ll have to try and find one somewhere else.”
The Lapel-Stony Creek Volunteer Fire Department and the Adams Township/Markleville Volunteer Fire Department were also listed as having used the government program. A Lapel representative said the only equipment it has from the program is a generator. Markleville could not be reached for comment.
Follow Zach Osowski on Twitter @Osowski_THB, or call 640-4847.