Pittsylvania Co. Gives Ringgold Fire Dept. 90 Days to Buy New Truck

Pittsylvania Co., VA - The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors says a local fire department needs to put up or pay up.
The Board gave Ringgold Fire Department $200,000 last year to buy a much needed ladder truck, but they still don't have one.
Fire Chief Michael Neal says the $200,000 only covered half of the cost and they've been working hard to come up with the rest, but time is running out, after the board gave them 90 days to deliver.
Neal has been dreaming of a new ladder truck for years, but the need became a priority when the county's industrial parks started growing.
"We've got 8 industries and large business that run from 30 to 65 foot in height, " he said.
According to Neal, if any of those large facilities caught fire, their current 24 foot ladders wouldn't get the job done.
Neal approached those companies to pitch in for the additional funds they would need to purchase a $500,000 truck.
"The industries had to do their thing and go through their procedures to see if they could get money, " Neal said.
Most of the companies were happy to support, but securing those funds - and additional grant money - has taken time....more time than they expected.
"There's no date in the letter from the county administrators office on when the money had to be spent, " Neal said.
Tuesday the board voted 4 to 3 to make the department purchase a truck in 90 days. Tim Barber was one who voted against the idea.
"They haven't been sitting on their hands. They've been working hard and I thought it was unfair for the board to put a 90 day deadline on them, " Barber said.
A former fireman himself, Barber says the department has already tested out a few trucks and he wants them to take their time to make a good purchase.
He also wants to make it clear that public safety is not something to be taken lightly.
"It sends a good message to the industries that we're here to help them and take care of them, " said Barber.
Right now they're about $100,000 short but Neal believes they will find a truck before the 90 day deadline, and just carry a balance.
The only ladder truck in Pittsylvania County at the moment is more than 20 miles away in Chatham.