COLBERT HEIGHTS — Members of the Colbert Heights Volunteer Fire Department purchased the department’s first fire truck in May, but not everything went as planned.
“They worked a long time to get that truck and then it was too big to get into the station,” said Colbert County Commissioner Roger Creekmore, whose district includes Colbert Heights. “They couldn’t even use it.”
Volunteer work and $15,000 from the Colbert County Community Development Committee has solved the problem through a new addition on the fire station.
“We have (the tanker) here at the department and we have actually used it twice,” said Colbert Heights Volunteer Fire Chief E.J. Lindblom. “We still have some work to do before the (fire) bay is completed, but the truck is in the dry.”
Lindblom said the 1,000-gallon tanker replaced a 1961 model tanker with much less capability.
“Having the new tanker gives us the capacity to pump 3,000 gallons of water a minute,” the chief said. “It helps provide better fire protection and service.”
Lindblom said the truck was housed in a building in Muscle Shoals, but department members decided to borrow money to do the addition.
“We were going to remodel the station so we could house the truck, but it was cheaper to add a bay and that’s what we did,” the chief said.
The new fire bay is 16 feet wide, 16 feet high and 33 feet long.
“We hired some of the work done, but most of it was done by volunteers,” he said.
Creekmore said the local legislative delegation of Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow, D-Red Bay, and Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, helped get the development committee involved in the project.
The committee is charged with evaluating requests on how a portion of the TVA in lieu of tax money sent to the county is used.
Lindblom said money from the development committee was used to repay the loan.
“I really appreciate the committee for understanding how important this truck is to the Colbert Heights area,” Creekmore said. “The effectiveness of putting out a fire is greatly improved with this truck.”
Colbert Heights officials said the department has the largest coverage area in the county and provides fire protection to more than 1,200 homes and businesses.
Lindblom said the department was preparing to repay the loan when it received word about the committee approving the request.
“We now have the truck here at the department, and we can use it if needed,” he said. “It’s all paid for now; that’s the beauty of it.”
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.