Knoxville — Knoxville's new ambulance arrived Thursday afternoon.
The rig is on a Chevy chassis, with a diesel engine. Weeks ago, models were brought to the fire station to allow the Fire/Rescue Department members time to see what they would like in a new ambulance. One of the models brought is actually the truck the City purchased.
There was $142,000 budgeted for this purchase. Of that, $80,000 will be used as a down payment and the City will finance $61,130 to cover the remainder. This will leave money in the budget to equip the new vehicle. Two equipment purchases were approved Monday night.
Fire Chief Greg Higginbotham says it will take at least two weeks to equip the new vehicle, before it can be fully utilized by the department. A radio is scheduled to be installed in the cab on Monday.
Aspects unique to the new, third ambulance, include LED lights all around the back. The lights are brighter and the horn is louder. Drivers won't be allowed to blow the horn during parades due to its sound.
The department's new logo, which includes the panther head, is also featured prominently on the ambulance.
In other fire department news, a floor is being installed today. The floor is part of a remodeling project at the fire station. Painting and new cabinets have been included in the project. Higginbotham hopes the project can be completed in two weeks.
That time frame is the same for the installation of a new, overhead door. One of the newest members of the department utilized a garage door opener at the station, one that keeps the door open for only a short time. The door began to come down, before she realized it, and hit the vehicle. The custom-made door has to be replaced.
A granite monument is expected to arrive soon for the exterior of the fire station. The bell will be remounted on the monument when it arrives.
Fire at the Red Carpet Inn
Members of the City and Rural Fire Departments were preparing for a "water war" last night during the big game street party before receiving a fire call shortly after 5 p.m.
An electrical fire broke out in the attic of the front office area of the Red Carpet Inn. Because the trucks were already out and firemen were already gathered, Higginbotham believes there was a record response time.
The fire damaged the front office, part of a hall, a closet and a washroom. Higginbotham said there are significant electrical issues with the building which will need to be addressed before the hotel can reopen.
The fire did not take long to extinguish. When it was out, the firemen returned downtown for the "water war" and a good time was had by all.