Beckley Fire Department earmarked for new fire truck

The Beckley Fire Department is earmarked a little over a million dollars from Senator Manchin’s appropriation committee to buy a new fire truck.

They have to replace an engine every 10 years and a ladder truck every 20 years. Their last big purchase was in 2022.

Chief Joe Coughlin says you wouldn’t want to start a cross-country trip in a 20-year-old vehicle, the same applies here — emergency response patients are counting on you.

“You don’t want to have a vehicle that’s 10-years-old, 12-years-old or 14-years-old and depend on that to get you there and to pump up to four hours,” said Coughlin, of Fire Station One. “Replacing those pieces of equipment in a timely manner is very important.”

The new truck will be an asset, replacing a 2004 model. In 2023 they fought 79 fires.

“Some were brush fires, trash fires, car fires, about 27 of them were actual structure fires,” the chief said.

According to Coughlin, their earmark has to go through HUD. The department hasn’t yet been told when the money will be available.

“Once they get the money they’ll notify us they have the money for us, and then they’ll give us the guidelines for spending it,” he said.

The chief says they aren’t equipment poor but these trucks are expensive.

“The availability of fire trucks on the other hand, if you spec one out and have one custom built to meet your needs — it can take up to three years to get it,” said Coughlin.

Getting this earmark to help the department purchase another engine is a big deal.

“It’s a million dollars to the city,” the chief said. “Fits in our replacement schedule to be able to purchase this truck in the next two years.”

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