In March the Caraway Volunteer Fire Department spearheaded a drive to secure funding to purchase a new tanker truck to replace the old outdated tanker that the department had used for years. Fire Chief Barry Riley addressed the city council with his proposal to apply for the 95/5 FEMA grant and listed the price of the truck at $133,000 and the city's share at $6,650. The council approved the application for the grant.
"I went back to the fire department and asked the firemen to help me think of reasons to prove that we needed the truck," Riley said. "We spent most of that meeting brainstorming and came up with many ideas for the grant. I took the ideas from that meeting and put them on paper and based the grant on their ideas. In August of this year the department received approval of the grant."
In September Riley formed a five member study committee to review bids for the new truck. The committee consisted of Chief Riley, Assistant Chief Bo James, Lt. Tommy Wilbanks, city aldermen John Boatman and Marvin Browning. After closely reviewing the bids the committee chose Fouts Bros. Inc., in Atlanta. The committee presented their choice to the total membership and the volunteer firemen voted to support their recommendation to purchase the tanker from Fouts Bros. Inc.
Last month the city council approved the payment of expenses for Chief Riley and Assistant Chief James to fly to Atlanta and purchase the truck. Last week the two men traveled to Atlanta, received specialized training, then drove the truck back to Caraway.
The new tanker is a 2006 Kenworth with a tank capacity of 2000 gallons and will pump 500 gallons per minute. The tanker has a 2100-gallon dump tank.
"The department could dump a full load of water into the pool, and draft from the pool while the tanker goes to refill," James said. "That will double the capacity of water for residents that were not protected from fire hydrants."
"The department will work on the truck this week changing over supplies to get the truck ready to put in service," Riley said. "We are very thankful to the Caraway City Council and Mayor Joe South for their continued support.
"Rep. Marion Berry's office helped us also, by sending a letter of support with our grant application," Riley said. "This helped the department secure the grant. But, most of all, it was the great ideas from the firemen that helped show that we needed the truck in the first place. I'll have to say this again and again, this took team effort. We are all very proud of our new truck and plan to put it to good use."