Illinois fire departments get more help to buy trucks - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Illinois fire departments get more help to buy trucks

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) - There's a new push to replace broken down fire trucks and it's having a big impact on rural fire departments in Illinois.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Saturday raising the cap on how much money municipalities can borrow from the state at no or low interest for truck purchases.

Fire Chief Rick Zaerr with the Tri-Township Fire Protection District says they are looking to take advantage of this by replacing truck two, which currently has a rusty frame.

"As we got it and looked into it, it was a lot worse than he even thought it was back in some of the remote areas that you just don't see very well," Zaerr said. 

The legislation would raise the borrowing cap for truck purchases from $250,000 to $350,000. The change reflects the increased cost of fire equipment since the law was last updated. The $100,000 dollar boost will come in handy, especially for rural fire departments with limited resources. 


"Otherwise we have to start checking around and finding other financing options, basically borrow the money," Zaerr said.

While truck two sits, only to be used as a back-up, Firefighter Andrew Wittler hopes to have it replaced with a more reliable one soon.

"It's not just for us, it's for the people we protect," Wittler said. "These trucks make our job. It's got our water and it's got our tools for all the calls we go on."

The law takes effect immediately.

Zaerr says they'll now start working on the necessary paperwork in order to apply for the loan. He hopes to have the truck replaced with the next four to five months.

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