EMA getting new water tanker

Friday, January 7, 2011

More than six months after a man lost his life and an old truck was wrecked, the Marshall County Emergency Management Agency is on its way to getting a new tanker.

EMA chief Bob Hopkins explained to the County Commission's Budget Committee on Tuesday that it took a long time to get the insurance company to declare the truck a total loss.

Now, the plan is to put the tank and pump from the old truck, which were undamaged in the wreck, on another chassis. Even with the insurance money, the conversion will cost the county $22,417 more than the insurance settlement.

"We have $75,000 in the contingency fund for emergency situations," budget director Freda Terry said. "This truly is an emergency."

The budget committee voted unanimously to recommend the expenditure, and asked Hopkins how long it would take.

He replied that the first step is to get the old truck to Mississippi, where the changeover will be accomplished, and said he is hunting for a way to get it there.

EMA employee Buford Delwin Lee, 66, was found dead on June 14 at a farm on Hatchett Hollow Road, Cornersville, where he was delivering water. It appeared that the truck had rolled over him and continued downhill until it hit a tree.

The EMA uses its two tanker trucks to bring water to fires where fire departments have no hydrants to draw from, and also to deliver water to county residents whose springs or wells have gone dry.

The wrecked truck was the larger one that could deliver 2,500 gallons of water, for which the EMA charges $60. They were limited to the smaller tanker, with its $40 load, for the rest of the summer and all of the fall, causing a significant drop in income, according to Hopkins.