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WATER VALLEY – The newest addition to the city’s fire department will soon be in service. The 1996 Hummer H1, a former military vehicle, was purchased by the City of Water Valley from the Mississippi Forestry Commission for $100.
Nicknamed the “Beast,” firefighters took a test run in the Hummer Monday afternoon after working several weeks on the conversion from a military vehicle to service as a brush truck. Fire Chief Mark McGavock reported that firefighters on each shift have pitched in to help. The effort has included painting the Beast, although McGavock reported his department didn’t splurge on the work..
“We put a coat of black Rhino-liner on the Beast for several hundred dollars,” the chief explained. “It would have cost thousands for a real paint job.”
Next on the list are sirens and lights along with a 200 gallon water tank, a pump and a pair of hoses in the back of the 6,000 pound vehicle. McGavock has intentions of purchasing this equipment second-hand, and estimated the cost will be a little over $5,000.
“We respond to a lot of grass fires in the city and county,” the chief explained. He also noted that the fire department’s last brush truck was a 1980s model that frequently had mechanical problems.
“Every time we got in it to go to a fire, a belt would break,” he noted.
When Yalobusha County EMS Director Stewart Spence called McGavock about a brush truck after spotting the Hummer at the forestry’s surplus lot earlier this year, the chief said his answer was an immediate yes. When Spence asked him what kind of brush truck he wanted, the chief’s answer was, “I don’t care, I just need a brush truck.”
Spence’s next question is if a Hummer would work.
“I told him to tell them it’s sold,” McGavock continued. “Stewart took care of us, the truck only has a little over 1,600 miles on it. And it is kind of cool, having a Hummer.”