Fire district seeks more grant funds |

Fire district seeks more grant funds

It takes water to put out fires, but fire officials are hopeful that a recent grant proposal will help buy a truck that can get the liquid to the scene of a fire.

The Craig Rural Fire Protection District is going for a $60,000 matching grant from the Department of Local Affairs for a second water tanker truck. If approved, fire officials can replace a cab and chassis on the body of an existing tanker truck. Having two tanker trucks will give the department flexibility in fighting structure fires. That may mean fighting fires simultaneously or fighting fires that may take an immense amount of water to extinguish.

“If fighting structure fires is our most important task, water is our most important ingredient,” said Craig Fire Chief Chris Nichols. “We have to take the steps that are essential to have that available.”

The department has one 1997 tanker that is “in good shape,” Nich-ols said.

Fire officials hope the grant dollars will help replace parts on a 1970 water tanker truck that is out of commission. After its motor died en route to a structure fire, the department spent $72,000 to overhaul its engine. It died four years later.

But, in the wake of a failed mill levy, Nichols said the department is looking toward the grant as a “stop-gap” measure.

Still, Nichols said, matching grant dollars won’t solve the department’s need to replace an aging fleet of emergency vehicles and other equipment.

Fire officials have said they gradually could have replaced three of the department’s aging vehicles in the next 10 years and filled other department needs if voters had passed a mill levy increase last November.

The department can go to voters with another mill levy question again in a special election in November or wait until May 2006 — when voters will be asked to select new board members.

The department’s budget has decreased $120,000 a year in the last decade dbecause of deflation of collected mill levy taxes from the county’s largest taxpayers.

But, Nichols said that residents tend to vote more favorably each time the department poses a tax question to voters.

Moffat County commissioners will seek input on a priority listing for the county’s DOLA grant applications. Commissioners have said that a grant request for a new hospital for The Memorial Hospital likely is first on the grant priority list.

The public is invited to weigh in on their picks for DOLA grant proposal priorities at a workshop at 5:30 p.m. March 22 at Craig City Hall.

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or

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