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Date of Issue: February 27, 2008

Big golf cart purchase approved by WMFR

West Manatee Fire & Rescue District Commissioners approved the purchase of a new piece of equipment: a $71,000 “multi-purpose all-terrain vehicle for response and recovery missions,” according to the proposal.

The little vehicle, equipped with firefighting equipment including water and foam tanks, a fire pump and hose reel and rescue equipment, is to serve for “access and response to the proposed Robinson Preserve, first-in teams, street fairs and festivals, parades and other areas where conventional fire apparatus would not be able to traverse or have reduced capabilities.”

Other locations where the little fire truck could be used are Leffis Key, Riverview Pointe, Perico Preserve and the Neal Preserve, all areas where a standard fire truck cannot traverse, according to reports.

“We’ve got 820 acres of preserves and more than 7 miles of trails in our district,” Fire Chief Andy Price said. “We can’t get to that with our standard equipment. Our problem is getting people out without foot power through rough terrain.”

Commissioners approved the purchase of the vehicle, with an expected delivery date of about three months. It will be stored at Fire Station No. 4 on the mainland and trailered to its needed location.

In other business, fire commissioners agreed to hold a facilities work session at 5 p.m. Feb. 27.

Price also said that meetings would continue with Florida Department of Transportation officials and contractors regarding the closure of the Anna Maria Island Bridge later this year regarding how the district will handle emergency response for the estimated 45-day closure of the span.

He said that the worst-case scenario of adding additional equipment and manpower could cost $236,000, which would be paid by the DOT.