The Augusta Fire Department is further revising its response plan for the city's south side after a recent decision to no longer dispatch an aerial ladder truck to small residential fires created unease within the department and among some residents.
Instead of the aerial truck housed at Station 6 on Richmond Hill Road responding to all house fires south of Tobacco Road, the department is placing into service and staffing another vehicle, Service Truck 5, at Station 19 on Brown Road.
Service Truck 5 is a 1993 International 4600 with a crew cab used to transport multiple extension ladders and other equipment, according to Augusta Fleet Manager Ron Crowden.
The International has a lower silhouette than Aerial Truck 4, which is more costly to repair, Crowden said.
The change came about after a Monday meeting involving Augusta Fire Chief Howard Willis, the department's battalion chiefs, two deputy chiefs and Deputy Administrator Bill Shanahan.
The aerial truck will continue its response to all industrial, school and large building fires in addition to when the incident commander deems it necessary, according to a statement issued Tuesday from the city.
The city will promote and pay three firefighters overtime as necessary to maintain a staff for Service Truck 5 "until an alternative staffing arrangement can be established," the statement says.