A penny's worth of prevention
Editorial, Hartselle Enquirer
Thousands of gallons of water, legions of firefighters and a tall ladder truck put out the deadly fire at Quail Run Apartments Monday afternoon.
Hartselle had the water.
Hartselle had the firefighters.
Hartselle didn't have the ladder truck.
It took Decatur firefighters some 15 minutes to get to Hartselle Monday afternoon. During that time, Hartselle firefighters were forced to battle the blaze on the two-story apartment complex from the ground. No ladder truck meant the firefighters could not get the water to where it was most needed.
Hartselle's Fire Department has been asking for money for a ladder truck for years. Fire Chief Rickey Joe Smith said without such a device, fighting fires in multi-story buildings is almost impossible.
The irony is, the ladder truck is one of the items listed on Hartselle's Capital Improvement Plan, a plan now in jeopardy by the City Council's failure to pass a 1-cent sales tax increase.
By not approving the sales tax increase, the City Council is closing the door on improving our city.
No one wants to pay more taxes and Gov. Riley's sweeping tax and accountability plan hangs like a dark cloud over any efforts to raise revenue. Still, the lack of funding for needed city items – such as the ladder truck and other equipment- is critical.
Hartselle's City Council should reconsider the 1-cent sales tax increase and take the steps needed to move the city forward.
It seems a small price to pay for safety.
We will never know if having a ladder truck close by would have prevented the loss of three lives Monday.
However, we do know that in the future, just a penny's worth of prevention could be the difference between life and death.