Ohio University has pledged $50,000 a year since 2012 to aid the Athens Fire Department in its mission to keep Athens residents safe.
The partnership began after the city administration asked the university for help to fund a new ladder truck, which cost over $1.3 million.
Although fire rescue vehicles have a long lifespan, they eventually become outdated, Athens City Auditor Kathy Hecht said. At the time, a new ladder truck was necessary for fighting fires in tall buildings like Baker University Center and Bromley Hall.
The funds have been pulled from the university’s unrestricted resources since 2012 and are deposited into the Athens’ general fund, from which fire department expenses are paid.
That money has been used to make payments on two trucks that are frequently used by the fire department, Chief of Athens Fire Department Robert Rymer said.
The city administration had saved up $400,000 for the ladder truck. It is now completely paid off thanks in part to the institutional commitment made by the university.
The fire department still owes over $323,000 on a pumper truck bought in 2014.
To help offset these costs, OU extended the pledge to contribute another $250,000 through 2021, said Jim Sabin, spokesperson for Ohio University.
The continued support of the university eases the cost of upkeep for fire rescue vehicles for the department that can add up quickly, especially due to the almost three decades’ long trend of increasing calls, Rymer said.
“The Athens Fire Department plays a key role in the safety of Ohio University's students, faculty and staff on campus and in the community, and we are proud to be able to support the department by contributing to the equipment it needs to perform its mission well,” Sabin said.