Providence Twp. Wins $523K Grant To Purchase New Tanker/Tender

Firefighter/EMT Jared Leininger and Lt. Nick Meko stand in front of the 1984 Mack truck that is the water tender for Providence Township Fire & Rescue. The department recently learned it will receive a $523,809.52 FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant to purchase a new 3,000-gallon tanker/tender. MIRROR PHOTO BY KAREN GERHARDINGER

BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Water tender 88 has seen its share of firefighting in its years of service for the Providence Township Fire & Rescue – but it’s showing its age.

Built in 1984, the Mack truck was first used as an aircraft refueling vehicle before the township obtained it. A 3,900-gallon water pump was later added to the side, said Lt. Nick Meko.

Meko was pleased to hear last week that the township was awarded a $523,809.52 FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant to purchase a new National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) compliant tanker/ tender with a 3,000-gallon tank and fire pump.

“This will enhance our firefighting capabilities and allow us to better serve the community,” said Capt. Chad Eickholt.

Ohio First Responder Grants LLC of Powell, Ohio aided Eickholt in the grant application process, entering details in the NFPA grant application portal. Their assistance was key in the successful outcome of the grant application, Eickholt said.

Specifications for the new tanker/tender will be put out to bid using the federal bidding process, so it will be a while – possibly up to three years – before the new unit is built and delivered. The federal grant requires a 5 percent match of local funds.

This will be the first new vehicle purchased since an ambulance was purchased with funds from a fire levy approved in 2019.

Run volume has slowly increased over the past five years, with four to five runs per day becoming more normal, Eickholt said. Staffed by volunteer Chief Richard Triggs, officers, volunteers and paid part-time medics, EMTs and firefighters, the department is always seeking new ways to fund equipment upgrades.

Eickholt is awaiting news on another application to the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant for new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) units that are essential when going into structure fires.

The PTFD responds to about 350 calls for service each year, including EMS and structure fires, as well as assisting area departments when there’s a need for additional water – something the 1984 truck isn’t able to do.

“That’s our primary water tender, but it’s beginning to become unsafe to be used for firefighting operations based on its age,” Eickholt said. “It’s had maintenance issues.”

All of the vehicles will be on display during the annual Community Day celebration at the fire department, 8149 Main St. in Neapolis, on Saturday, September 9.

The event will include a spaghetti dinner, fire safety trailer, vendors, music and a tractor event.

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