Athens City And Ohio University Officials Unveil New Fire Truck< < Back to
It's not often that Athens city and university officials take a joy ride together in a fire truck. But today was a special occasion.
It marked the debut of a new million-dollar fire truck. It also represented a growing relationship between the city of Athens and Ohio University.
"We live in the same city, we live in the same community and we have to deal with the same issues," says Mayor Paul Wiehl.
He's talking about issues like fire safety and response. With more than 16,000 full-time undergraduate students added to Athens 2010 population estimate of nearly 24,000 people, a significant portion of the calls that the Athens Fire Department makes are to the university.
Over the next five years, Ohio University will contribute $250,000 to the city's new and only arial platform truck. The university says it will use income from its real estate to pay the $50,000 per year.
"We want to make sure that we're balancing our responsibility to the greater community and ensure that we were doing everything we could to help with the safety," says Becky Watts, Chief of Staff to the Ohio University President.
The new truck is going to replace a ladder truck that was built in 1989.
"Anytime you have one apparatus and it's 22 years old, you have to be very concerned about failure," says Athens Fire Chief Bob Troxel. He added that another concern was the truck's outdated technology.
The new truck is not only up to date in technology, but it also has a taller ladder. Reaching 10 feet higher than the previous truck's, the ladder is 100 feet long.
"We have a multitude of buildings in the city that are over four stories, and the majority of those are on university property. It is important that we have the ability to have an arial device that would reach those structures," Troxel said.
He added that it'll be a few weeks before the new truck is in service. Until the firefighters are trained, it looks like it'll only be going on more joy rides.