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Mount Eden Fire Department begins rebuilding

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By William B. Carroll

Landmark News Service

The Mount Eden Volunteer Fire Department Board of Trustees continued to move forward with rebuilding the fire station, which was destroyed by fire two weeks ago, by appointing a building committee and approving insurance disbursements for several vehicles destroyed in the blaze.

Board Chairman Duane McClain appointed a committee to look into the construction of a new fire department that included board members Dean Ware, Bob Jones and Jim Evans. The committee also includes Larry McClain, who will act as the firefighters representative throughout the process.

Jones, who will act as the chairman of the newly appointed committee, said that he had already scheduled an appointment with an architect to begin plans on the new station.

Board Attorney Jim Hodge said the committee members job is to recommend which method the board uses to construct the new facility. Several committee members asked where the original plans for the burned structure are located. Jones said the original drawings were in the fire safe in the station and that he had been unable to get to the safe to look at the drawings.

Fire Chief Doug Herndon said the burned building will remain locked up for an additional two to three weeks as insurance investigators continue their investigation into the cause of the fire.

Hodge suggested checking with the Planning and Zoning Department, Property Valuation Administration or the Health Department as those agencies might still have copies of the plans originally submitted for the structure.

The board also considered several insurance payment proposals. Herndon said that the fire was being handled by several separate adjusters, with each adjuster handling a different aspect of loss relating to the fire.

Herndon said the department’s two large trucks, the pumper and the tanker, were total losses and the department would be paid $300,000 for the two vehicles. The money would be distributed $220,000 for the tanker and $80,000 on the pumper truck. The amounts would not include equipment installed on the vehicles. The department will also receive $7,860 for the department’s Chevrolet Suburban which was also destroyed by the fire.

The board approved accepting $307,860 for the vehicles and named board member and treasurer Dale Yates as the person responsible for executing the documents to complete the insurance settlement.

Herndon said that other adjusters were handling estimates for the remainder of the property including equipment on the trucks, radios and other equipment. According to discussions during the meeting, one of the estimates called for $128,000 for replacement of the firemen’s packs and gear.

Herndon said that based upon staff recommendations it appeared as though the department would need to buy a new tanker truck and possibly could find a used engine truck.

“You cannot find a good used tanker but you can find a good used engine,” Herndon said.

It was added that it could take several months after a new vehicle is acquired to equip it with all of the necessary equipment.

The board also approved a $10,629 disbursement to compensate the department for a SKID unit which had previously been attached to the department’s grass truck. Herndon said that the monies will almost totally replace the unit valued at a little over $11,000.

During the meeting, several groups were discussed who wanted to donate supplies, time or money to the rebuilding project.

Fifth-Third Bank is willing to donate used bank furniture to the department.

“The furniture is really nice, it may actually be a lot more than we need,” McClain said.

The Shelby County Fiscal Court supplied the department with a new grass truck. The vehicle, which arrived just prior to the meeting, is a 2015 Ford F-250 Super Duty vehicle. The vehicle will replace the department’s grass truck destroyed in the fire.

Herndon also mentioned several local groups who wanted to lend a hand.

“The biker club wants to do a ride to support us,” Herndon said. “The Simpsonville Women’s Auxillary also wants to do something for us.”

The department has also established an account at Peoples Bank for anyone wishing to contribute funds to the rebuilding effort.