July 30--SPRINGFIELD TWP. -- Township officials are expected to accept a sizeable grant Thursday from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that will allow their fire department to replace a fourth of its aging fleet of trucks.
And it couldn't be more timely, fire Chief Vic Wincik said Tuesday.
"It's a godsend we were awarded this grant," he said.
Approval came on Springfield's fifth attempt to secure the money.
The township received official word last week from U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown that the department has been awarded $346,000 to purchase a vehicle under an Assistance to Firefighters Grant program from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
It will allow the department to replace a second truck this year in the aging fleet of decades-old vehicles.
Wincik said neither of the department's two pumpers -- a 1983 reserve truck that "died" in 2013 and a 1985 pumper that quit running in January -- can respond in fire emergencies.
"I quickly went from four to two trucks," Wincik said.
The department still uses a 1983 aerial truck that relies on a portable compressor to pump leaky air brakes between calls and a 1989 tank truck that hauls water to incidents.
It has been a challenge, said Wincik, and the department has only been able to muster on by the good will of neighbors.
"I am blessed with good working relationships with the village of Lakemore, the village of Mogadore and the city of Akron through automated response," the chief said.
Before the township received word of the grant, officials approved the purchase of a new 1,500-gallon pumper from the Sutphen Fire Truck Manufacturer of Dublin, Ohio, township trustee Dean Young said.
"The two trucks were holding on by a shoestring," he said.
In March, trustees approved the purchase of a $370,000 pumper, allocating money from joint economic development funds from the city of Akron, $30,000 from the fire fund and financing the balance at 4.36 percent interest over 15 years.
"We treaded water for a lot of years waiting to a get a grant. We couldn't wait around when the main responding truck couldn't pull out of the station," Young said.
The new truck, ordered in May, is expected to be delivered in December, Wincik said.
The grant is the second awarded to the community of 14,600 residents this year, the chief said. In January, the township was awarded $120,000 to upgrade its radios in compliance with National Fire Protection Association standards.
Wincik said the township will ask voters to renew two fire levies in the November election: a 1.8-mill levy that raised approximately $458,000 last year and a 3.2-mill levy that brought in $561,000.
Kathy Antoniotti can be reached at 330-996-3565 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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