Smithfield grant provides Rose Hill new fire truck

ROSE HILL, DUPLIN COUNTY (WITN) A $150,000 grant from Smithfield Foods has allowed the Rose Hill Volunteer Fire Department to purchase a new fire truck with a 100 foot ladder, a bucket on the end, and a nozzle on that.

Until now, when a truck like this was needed in or near Rose Hill, officials said they had to call them in from other departments that are 20 to 30 minutes away.

Rose Hill Fire Chief Gary Boney says, "Time is everything, and just a couple of minutes can mean a big difference"

Firefighters say they needed this truck for previous fires, and they now have their own thanks to Smithfield Foods, a national farming corporation with more than a quarter of all their operations in North Carolina.

Smithfield Spokesperson Jonathan Toms says, "This community is also where our employees work, live and raise their families, so it's important to us to be a good neighbor in these places where we operate."

The fire chief said normally, small, volunteer departments just like this one do not have nearly enough funding to afford a truck like this.

Boney says, "Some departments that have other funding sources, tax districts and so fourth, they're able to afford a truck such as this, but we just have a limited budget from Rose Hill, and to do it on that would've been impossible."

The truck's ladder will allow firefighters to come in from above, responding aerially. The 100 foot extension allows firefighters to put out flames from a safer distance.

Boney says, "There will be times when we can use this truck and extend the bucket and fight fire with it unmanned, and we don't have to put a man in harms way."

Smithfield has made smaller donations to the Rose Hill Volunteer Fire Department in the past and says their foundation plans to continue supporting farming communities.