Bedford fire commission requests $5 Million for new trucks - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Bedford fire commission requests $5 Million for new trucks

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With outdated equipment, more than twenty years old, Hardy volunteer fire chief Eric Shell tells the Bedford county board of supervisors safety is now a concern for those who work to save lives.

"It's always that element that sticks in the back of your mind that if something were to happen, your safety is at risk in some of these cases." Shell said.

Covering nearly 800 square miles. There are 12 volunteer fire departments in Bedford County.

Departments the fire commission says are understaffed, and not properly equipped.

The fire commission is asking for what it calls the bare minimum.

They've requested money for seven new fire trucks to be leased over a ten year period , totaling almost 5 million dollars.

The public safety money from the board of supervisors has remained about the same for the past 15 years averaging around 34,500 dollars.

But the cost of a new fire truck averages around 550-thousand dollars.

Boonsboro fire chief Jack Sorrells says raising enough donations to make up the difference is impossible.

"The cost of fire fighting and the safety features that we need are increasing exponentially and our ability to raise funds is not increasing at the same speed," Sorrells said.

While board members say they recognize the needs of the department they say they are cautious about committing a definite line item to the budget for the next ten years.

"It's a debt that is ongoing. debting future boards is something I may have some problems with, but certainly I am willing to look at it," said board member Steve Arrington.

The fire commission and the board have more meetings like this in coming months, to find a way to keep people safe in an emergency.

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