Horry County Fire Rescue wants all new fire trucks

A plan to replace Horry County Fire Rescue's entire fleet of vehicles is moving forward.

County and fire department officials met to finalize financing plans for its Fire Apparatus Replacement Program on Tuesday.

This year, around $8 million will be spent on eight fire engines, two ladder trucks, and one tanker, according to Deputy Chief Scott Thompson of Horry County Fire Rescue.

He says every six years, around $15 million will be spent on new apparatus.

The plan is to replace all 41 of the department's vehicles over an 18-year period.

"You stretch it out, it doesn't put a burden on the people who are here now, and it stretches the costs out over 18 years, so we would not be able to afford this if we did this in a more traditional sense." Thompson said.

The apparatus will be distributed to fire stations throughout the county that need it the most, including Fire Station 3, which serves the Bucksport community.

"A new apparatus will bring some security, just the same as most folks feel when it's time for a new car," said Captain Paul Crutchfield of the Horry County Fire Rescue.

The majority of vehicles in the fire department's fleet are around 20 years old. Many of those vehicles are used on the front lines when they should be used as reserves.

The department still needs to secure a vendor and financing before construction of the apparatus can start.

New apparatus should be available to fire stations and their crews in the county by this time next year.

The money for the replacement program is coming from a millage increase voted on by county council members last year.

Fire officials say those costs should be offset some by better ISO ratings, which means cheaper insurance rates.