COATESVILLE — Volunteer fire departments across the county operate on extremely tight budgets, so obtaining a newer model fire engine is not usually feasible.
But the Mill Creek Fire Department here will soon have a much newer engine, thanks to the generosity of the Brownsburg Fire Territory.
Officials with the BFT announced at last week’s Brownsburg Town Council meeting that they were donating their 1996 model engine, since they had purchased a new one last fall that’s more equipped to handle their high volume of runs.
“Obviously our equipment is more outdated than most in the county, seeing as we’re the smallest (fire department) out here,” Mill Creek Fire Department Fire Chief Tim Williams said. “It’ll allow us to combine a couple of trucks into one truck. It was much appreciated. It’s going to allow us to upgrade. We’re going to have to have repair work done on it, but once we get that done, it’s a truck that’ll last us forever.”
Williams said his department averages about 325 runs a year, as opposed to Brownsburg, which had 3,488 runs in 2012.
Mill Creek’s current fire engine is a 1983 model. When it was purchased in 1996, the engine cost more than $290,000. Williams said an engine in a model like that is typically set to run for 300,000 miles.
BFT Fire Chief William Brown said his department does 10 times the runs as Mill Creek so they had a need for a newer engine.
“(Tim Williams) asked us what we were going to do with the old engine when we purchased the new one, and they’re a volunteer department with limited funds in need of a new engine,” Browns said. “We believe in neighbors helping neighbors here in Hendricks County and it was worth more value for us to do that than try and scrap it out or re-sell it.”
Williams said the next step is to raise funds for the engine’s needed repairs. He’s still in the process of getting quotes and hopes to have fundraisers.
In the end, he said, having this engine could save lives in his community.
“Our budget is only around $45,000 a year,” Williams said. “We’re hoping to put together some sort of mailer where we could mail out to residents. This day and age, we understand that it’s really tough to get people to donate. We’re all volunteers. A lot of times we respond from home. Everybody here has to have a full-time job.
“(The donation) was a really nice gesture. They could have easily sold it or done something else with it because they didn’t need it anymore. It’s things like this that help keep us afloat. Everybody here is excited about it. To them, it’s like a new truck. Even though it’s older and needs some repair, it’s nicer than what we currently had.”
Brown said the BFT’s new engine cost around $470,000 and that trucks typically last 12 to 15 years for his department, so they did get a lot of life out of the last one.
He also said one positive for their own department is that down the road, that engine could come back and be helpful to them on a run.
“As we’ve seen, fire can strike anywhere — any community, large or small, urban, metro, or rural,” Brown said. “(The engine) is within our own county, so if the need ever were to arise and we had a really large fire, we can always come and help or they can help us and be using that engine.”
Williams said that donations for the work to be done on the truck may be mailed to the Mill Creek Fire Department, P.O. Box 167, Coatesville, IN 46121.