By CALVIN ADKINS
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
For most little boys, a bright red fire truck given to them on Christmas Day will thrill them into a celebration beyond their control.
A new fire truck for the Heartsease Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department, that was delivered three months before Christmas, has triggered the same reaction from the men who manned the station.
The spanking brand new truck with the state-of-the-art bells and whistles were delivered Sept. 21. On Thursday HSVFRD officials were given even more reasons to celebrate when the title for the $462,000 truck was handed over to them. They also received an additional thrill that included $50,000 worth of equipment.
"It's just like Christmas around here," said HSVFRD Chief Fred Crowell Jr. "We can't keep the guys from here. They're not going to stop coming until the newness wears off. We even have guys talking about joining. I tell them don't join because of the equipment. Join us because you want to help our citizens in time of need."
The truck and its accessories were purchased through Fire Connections of Rocky Mount. Funds collected by HSVFRD taxes paid for the vehicles.
"They got what they needed," said Travis Mayo, a representative of Fire Connection. "This truck should take care of them for the next 20 years."
The new addition makes HSVFRD a five-fleet operation. It's oldest truck is a about 20 years old," Edmondson said.
Edmondson, who served as chief for 10 years, was among the first fighters when the operation began in 1977. The land was given to the department by the late Joel Bourne. Back then fire trucks and equipment wasn't as expensive.
"We borrowed $250,000 to buy two trucks and pay for this building," he said. "Today we spent almost a half of million dollar. Things sure have change."
The new truck will allow HSVFRD to adapt to those changes. It holds 1,000 gallon of water and can pump 15 gallons per minute. It's generator can provide 10,000 watts power.
Out of Edgecombe County's 14 volunteer fire departments, Heartsease may have the most intricate district which includes the manufacturing company QVC, the logistic company Kan Ban, a large portion of U.S. 64 bypass and U.S. 64 business. The district is also comprised of CSX Selective Sight – an area near QVC that has been designated by CSX as being a prime site for industry location.
"One of the things that industries look for when trying to find a location is the fire protection," Crowell said. "This new truck will show them that we are more than capable of providing service if needed. Our guys are committed to providing the best service possible and we are not just starting because we have a new truck. We would do it with or without the truck. But its better to do it with the truck."