Benson Fire Department looking at replacing aerial truck

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Fire calls up slightly in 2013

Though the Benson Fire Department’s aerial truck looks good for its age, the wear and tear of 35 years in operation has the department now looking at a newer model. They are not cheap.
The city purchased its current 1979 aerial truck from the City of Willmar 14 years ago, Benson Fire Chief Mark Schreck told the city council at its meeting Feb. 17. The department would like to replace it with a 2010 or newer aerial truck, but the cost is around $690,500, he said.
To help pay for a significant amount of that purchase price, the department has applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for grant funds it receives from the Department of Homeland Security.
The department would use the new aerial truck as its third line engine, Schreck said. It could take the place of two trucks, he added.
If the city needed another pumper truck, Danvers, DeGraff or Clontarf could help out through their mutual aid agreements with the city, he said. All three departments have been able to upgrade their trucks through FEMA grants in recent years.
It is imperative that the city has a ladder truck, Council Member Sue Fitz said. She pointed to the seven-story Parkview Manor as one reason the truck is needed. Schreck said that the city also needs it for Fibrominn and the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company.
There is no reason not to at least do some window-shopping and see what is available, Mayor Paul Kittelson said. Council members agreed the department should see what is on the market

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