Toledo Fire Chief Will Ewing was given the green light Wednesday to call for proposals from companies that manufacture fire trucks. Ewing says the department needs a new structure fire class engine, one that can pump 1,500 gallons a minute and carry at least one thousand gallons in its tank. Ewing says it has to be nimble and able to easily navigate Toledo’s many up-and-down-twisty-turny streets. The council asked the price and Chief Ewing said around $380,000, but he added it could go up in price by as much as $20,000 more depending on how the specifications on the truck wind up costing. He predicted delivery of the new fire truck could be sometime in the Fall of next year if everything goes according to plan.
Ewing and the council got into a little Q & A with each other on what’s called “ISO” ratings…ratings that determine what property owners in Toledo are charged for fire insurance. Ewing said the town has an ISO rating of “4,” which he said is a very good rating. But whether the new fire truck will improve that rating enough to bring rates down is unknown. “We just need the fire truck,” Ewing exhorted. Ewing said that he doesn’t support anyone using ISO ratings as a primary ingredient in asking the city council to cough up more money for fire fighting equipment. But he added, “over time, as the fire department becomes more highly trained and experienced, the town’s rating will improve and residents will see savings on their property owner’s insurance bill; either going down or not going up or not going up as fast. The lowest rating is a 10, which would be for a house far from town at the end of a difficult-to-drive dirt road. A rating of one is usually a brick house across the street from a 24/7 staffed fire station.