Older Bolivar (MO) Fire Apparatus Creates Problems


Firefighters in at least one Ozarks town are dealing with old equipment and that could cause home insurance to rise.

The fire department’s ladder truck failed inspection. That’s just one of the many problems with equipment this department is facing.

“It is almost like a pig with lipstick. That’s about all you can make out of it. It’s been doctored, covered up so much, it will cost way more to fix then the truck is worth,” says Lieutenant John Smith with the Bolivar Fire Department.

Smith says the fleet in department is old, according to fire standards. The newest truck is 15-years-old, the oldest is 35 years-old.

The aging equipment has a domino affect and there’s one big worry that sticks out for people living here.

“If something where to happen to my house, if one of their trucks or something did break down, they couldn’t get to my house, then I would be in really bad shape,” says Bolivar resident, Mary Lockstead.

That’s exactly what happened when firefighters got the call for an apartment fire Thursday.

“Our engine wouldn’t start. We couldn’t get our engine on scene without a little bit of a delayed response. We eventually did get our engine there,” says Bolivar Fire Chief, James Ludden.

In that case, the chief says the person inside the house was ok. But equipment that’s not reliable, he says can mean the difference between life and death. That’s why he says now is time time to upgrade.

Some top items he says need to be replaced are:

  • Ladder truck
  • Fire engines
  • Equipment
  • Cost: $1.3 million

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