By Dave Maxwell
Mineral County Fire Chief Chris Lawrence talked about the new ambulance the county has been using the past couple of months.
“We were in dire need of a new one. We had a 2011 Mercedes van, but it doesn’t really have a lot of room in the back.”
He said, “The ambulance this one replaces was killing me on repair costs. I had put out about $5,000 in repairs in a three month period. That’s when I decided to pursue a new one. The cost of this one was $118,000, but if I was to purchase one from a manufacturer, I would have been looking at around $250,000 to $300,000.”
He added, “We had a used vehicle given to us by Mason Valley Fire and what I did was to apply for a grant with the USDA, and they partially funded the new ambulance. We took the box off our previous ambulance and had Fire Trucks Unlimited of Henderson, mount it on a 2020 Chevy 2500 4×4 chassis.”
Lawrence said he started this whole process about a year ago, and Chevy being backed up with production troubles, some miscommunications and other issues, our chassis wasn’t completed until this past April. After Fire Trucks Unlimited finished with their work, we picked up the ambulance the second week in May.”
Hawthorne has used the ambulance a lot Lawrence said. “It’s a great rig because there is a lot of room in the back. Another great item is that no county tax money was used for the purchase and renovations. USDA paid $50,000 and out of my ambulance fund we covered $68,000 for a total of $118,000. Everything is new except for the box that came off the 2011 Mercedes.”
County Commissioners earlier this month approved an ambulance rate increase from $600 to $860. Lawrence said rates had not increased since 2006.