Thanks to the Mississippi Forestry Commission, the Sturgis Volunteer Fire Department has added another one-time Army surplus truck to its arsenal.
"It's going to be housed here at Sturgis where it will be available to fight brush and grass fires," said Sturgis Fire Chief Greg Wall. "[It will be used] here in our district as well as the neighboring districts that we respond with."
Like any volunteer fire department that feels the crunch of the the economic conditions, funding can be quite the challenge.
Rather than save up and buy something new at a cost of $55,000 plus, the department relies on the generosity of others like the U.S. Army and the U.S. Forest Department.
"Of course, we want to stretch every dollar that we can," Oktibbeha County Fire Services Coordinator Kirk Rosenhan said. "This is a big adjunct to us to get these surplus truck vehicles. We've got several in the county."
Besides saving the county money, another key advantage to having a brush truck is the maneuverability and accessibility throughout the county.
It can go to places that a large pumper truck just can't get into.
"Our main pumpers, we really can't take those off road," Assistant Chief Bobby Goff said. "If we get them off road too much, [the chance that they're] going to get stuck is pretty high. With this truck, we're allowed to get in the woods, put it in four-wheel drive, cross creeks and everything like that."
To help cut down on additional expenses, the volunteer fire department had paint donated to them and also utilized free labor from people who are serving time.
"The labor involved in painting the truck, sanding it down and getting all the pits and everything out was very time-intensive," adds Goff. "We had the Winston County Correctional Facility prisoners [who were] able to do that portion for us."
Once additional minor amenities are added the new truck should be in service in a couple of days.