RIPLEY - On Tuesday evening Fire Chief Richard H. Gobble II made a passionate plea to the City of Ripley that was articulate and right to the point.
“I come here to ask for your help so that we can make our department safer and more efficient.”
While Gobble’s words were the last heard during the City Council meeting, he had the attention and respect of the room.
The hot topic of conversation was the most immediate need. An updated “Jaws of Life” apparatus takes $25,000.00 of the $60,000.00 request by the department. Gobble noted that the current apparatus would also be used by the department in various capacities.
The request also included a thermal camera used for locating “hot spots” in engulfed buildings with a price tag of $10,000.00 and various hand tools valued at $2,000.00.
A 1991 Pierce is the department’s oldest vehicle and Gobble noted that bringing the current fleet up to date is also a priority.
Outside of the $60,000.00 request, the department seeks a ladder truck to prohibit the Ripley VFD from relying on other area departments when the need arises.
“We have been blessed with the support of the City of Ripley over the years. Our department is on course to be debt free in 5-10 years, which I am proud of,” said Gobble.
Ripley mayor Carolyn Rader noted that the board would take the departments requests into consideration. It is unclear at this point how the transaction would affect the city’s budget.
“This community values your department and your dedication to the City of Ripley,” said Rader.
The Ripley VFD averages responding to over 1,000 calls per year.