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Woonsocket fire department receives local aid for new truck

WOONSOCKET -- The Town & Country Fire Department of Woonsocket upgraded a piece of its equipment in the form of a shiny red, $265,000 fire truck.

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The Town & Country Fire Department of Woonsocket purchased a new firetruck to replace their 33-old truck. They received $212,000 in form of a zero percent loan from the Central Electric Cooperative in Mitchell.

WOONSOCKET -- The Town & Country Fire Department of Woonsocket upgraded a piece of its equipment in the form of a shiny red, $265,000 fire truck.

The fire department will be formally accepting a check from Central Electric Cooperative next week, which it will be paying back as a zero percent interest loan -- saving thousands of dollars.

Central Electric Cooperative in Mitchell applied for a grant on behalf of the fire department through the United States Department of Agriculture.

The cooperative received a $212,000 rural economic development grant to turn into a zero percent interest loan for the fire department.

On Saturday, the fire department will be holding an open house for the community to check out the new fire truck and other new equipment. It will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the fire department in Woonsocket.

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The fire department received the truck last November, according to Fire Chief Travis Coulthard. It replaced a 33-year-old truck that no longer met fire standards.

Coulthard said the department had been looking at purchasing a new truck for the past couple years. The previous truck has been outdated and needed the upgrade.

The Woonsocket fire department has four trucks total, along with 27 volunteer firefighters, Coulthard said. The entire department is 100 percent volunteer.

The new truck has features the previous truck didn’t, including some pump and roll capabilities, according to Coulthard.

It is going to be more reliable, Coulthard said.

“The fire board feels since the firemen donate all of their time and their talent, it's the least the fire board can do to supply them with good and safe equipment,” he said.

On top of supplying the firemen with safe equipment, Coulthard said that the new truck gives members a certain amount of enthusiasm and pride.

The monthly payments from the fire department will go back into the rural electric economic development (REED) loan fund and made available for other economic development and community projects, according to Ken Schlimgen, the general manager at the Central Electric Cooperative.

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The REED fund is a community development financial institution that is governed by 22 electric cooperatives. The goal of this group is to offer loans to promote growth and improve infrastructure and economic base in rural areas.

Schlimgen said that the new fire truck will be a “tremendous asset” to the Woonsocket community.

“I can tell it will be a benefit to that community, the residents and the rural members that we serve,” Schlimgen said. “Having the fire department have the proper tools to respond to a fire is very important.”

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