The Thayer Fire Department will soon have a, much needed, new tanker truck to improve fire protection for Thayer and surrounding areas. Thayer Alderman Mike Harber learned recently that Missouri Department of Conservation was purchasing trucks from the National Guard for use by rural fire departments. Harber contacted Fire Chief Mark Arnold about the program, and he pursued applying for one.
"The transmission was going out in one of our trucks, and we really needed a new one," Harber said. Because Arnold had fire reports and updated paper work for emergency situations the fire department had handled, the application was quickly approved. The department received a 2008 truck with only 10,000 miles within days. "We would like to thank everyone involved in getting the new truck for our fire department at zero cost," Harber said.
The truck was delivered with a freight liner chassis, allowing the department to convert it to the type of fire equipment needed. The decision was made to convert the truck frame into a tanker truck to deliver water to fire scenes. The truck will cost about $3,500 to equip, a cost to be shared by Thayer and rural fire departments. The truck is currently in Springfield, Mo. where it is being converted to a tanker. The truck should be back and ready for use by the end of this week.
On another matter, the Thayer Rural Volunteer Fire Department is encouraging rural residents to pay their membership dues, which are currently $35 a year.
Fire Chief Mark Arnold said the department has not increased its dues in about seven or eight years, until the recent $10 increase. Even with the increase, Arnold said the rate is still the lowest in the area.
Paying the annual membership dues could save homeowners several hundred dollars on a fire call, Arnold said. Members do not pay for fire calls.
However, residents, within in the district who do not pay the fee and need firefighters to respond pay a minimum of $100 for the call, plus an hourly rate for equipment and firefighters. Most calls average $350-$500.
"We'll provide protection whether they are a member or not. We're just trying to encourage people to pay now," said Arnold.
The all-volunteer department has 21 firefighters who cover an area of approximately 100 square miles. The department averages 40 calls a year, including vehicle crashes, brush fires, structural fires and mutual aid to other departments.
Because of this summer's hot and dry weather conditions, the department received a lot of calls early in the summer. Calls have been fewer, since a burn ban was imposed. "We are really hoping for some more rain soon to lift the burn ban," Arnold said.
The department's territory stretches from the county line to the south to behind the Grand Gulf State Park, north to Koshkonong and east toward Couch. There are approximately 450-475 properties covered in the department's area.
Thayer Rural Fire Department membership applications are available at Thayer City Hall and Police Department.