Ellis County is looking for a new firetruck

Blaise Mesa
The Topeka Capital-Journal
Hays Fire Chief Ryan Hagans, left, and Darin Myers, Ellis County Emergency Management director and rural fire chief, discuss the response time after running through an exercise at Hays Regional Airport.

The Ellis County Fire and Emergency Management Department is looking to replace a firetruck.

Darin Myers, director of the department, said the county is looking to replace Engine 50 at Company 5’s station in Hays. The truck is mechanically sound, he said, but has rusting parts that require maintenance “almost every single time” the truck drafts from a body of water to fill the truck. Without the maintenance, the truck could drain water while it sits at the station.

Myers said the roughly 25-year-old truck’s design is also out of date. He said some compartments are too small to comfortably hold equipment and it has two motors, one for the pump and one for the truck, which can add to maintenance costs when you have to repair and maintain separate motors.

Myers received permission from county commissioners at Monday’s meeting to begin the bidding process and start searching for a new truck, and he expects to come before the commissioners in January to approve the purchase of the next truck.

He said the county can’t afford, nor does it need, the newest truck model, and Myers said he found an 8-year-old 2012 model a few months ago that costs about $275,000 that “wouldn’t meet everything we need, but it would suffice.” A new truck with some “unnecessary” features could cost between $600,000 and $800,000.

“It’s just like buying a 1-year-old pickup compared to a brand new (car),” Myers told commissioners.