Barrow fire department welcomes 3 ambulances

WINDER - The Barrow County Fire Department recently activated three new ambulances that replace rickety ones with 115,000 miles plus on the odometer.

The 2009 Dodge Sprinter ambulances, purchased from a distributor in Tyrone, went into service earlier this month at stations 3, 4 and 5, Fire Department spokesman Lt. Scott Dakin said. They replace two ambulances with more than 150,000 miles of service - and one that chalked 115,000 miles with the county despite design complications.

Fire Department Chief Mark Melvin said the vehicles offer many advantages over their predecessors, including improved gas mileage and safety.

Vehicle replacement schedules usually apply at, or near, 100,000 miles, Dakin said.

"In this tough economic time, we have to find means to reduce cost and cut projects to help reduce the overall budget of (the department)," Melvin said. "However, this was a necessary purchase."

The vehicles cost about $119,000, paid for with general funds in the county's 2009 budget, Dakin said.

The Barrow County Board of Commissioners approved the purchase in December.

Melvin thanked the board for "replacing three well-worn ambulances that have served the citizens of Barrow County well."