City’s new fire truck could help lower insurance rates
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Sulphur Springs Fire Chief Gerry Cleaver (far left), and (left to right) Assistant Fire Marshal Eric Hill and firefighters Allen Johnson, David James, Jay Stonaker, Jay McKee and Mackey Maxwell welcome home their new fire engine Thursday morning at the Central Fire Station.
Staff Photo by Angela Pitts

Jan. 12, 2007 - Sulphur Springs Fire Department is riding high this week in its new Sutphen Shield Series pumper truck. Driver Jay McKee and Fire Chief Gerry Cleaver drove the truck home this week from the plant where it was built in Ohio.

The truck will be housed at SSFD Station 2, located between Gilmer Street, Bill Bradford Road and Tennessee Street.

The truck replaces the 1995 Spartan truck at Station 2. The Spartan will be placed in reserve status as a backup, marking the first time in three years the SSFD has had a reserve pumper truck.

"We needed it. The other one was starting to show age," McKee said. "We've been without a reserve for three years."

Having the backup unit also could lower city residents' homeowners insurance rates by improving Sulphur Springs' ISO (Insurance Services Office) rating, one of the major factors in setting insurance premiums.

That's one of the questions they ask [in determining the rating], the number of reserve fire apparatus you have," Fire Chief Cleaver said.

The $297,573 pumper is being financed by the city using existing funding, with city officials passinga resolution allowing bonds to be sold for reimbursement, according to a spokesman with the city.

�Sulphur Springs City Council members and City Manager Marc Maxwell approved the decision to purchase the truck last spring. McKee drew up the specifications, got it approved and ordered it from Sutphen, the family-owned company out of the Columbus, Ohio, area from which the department purchased their tower truck a few years ago.�

"We all want to thank the city council for the job they do and their support for us. The city council and city manager do a great job," said McKee. "Also, our Fire Chief Gerry Cleaver has done an excellent job. We're pleased to have him. It would not be possible without them."

The Sutphen Shield Series Pumper is powered by a Cummins 370-horsepower engine with a heavy duty Allison transmission. It is designed to carry 750 gallons of water and 20 gallons of foam. A 6 kilowatt "smart powered" hydraulic generator provides electricity to power equipment. The pumper can house 1,000 feet of 5-inch supply line, and has 400 feet of 3-inch supply line on it. It also came complete with various reconnected hosing, 220 cubic foot of storage space to house all of the department's extrication and rescue equipment, "and everything else needed for a structure fire and medical calls."

Cleaver and McKee flew to Ohio on Jan. 4, when they were told by representatives from the 116-year-old company it was ready. By delivering the truck home themselves, the firemen also saved the city a $2,200 delivery fee, the pair noted.

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