DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The Darlington County Fire District is buying a brand new $350,000 tanker to replace one from 1988.
With a new truck comes a new partnership; the owner of Darlington Dragway is behind the agreement.
Now, Darlington County firefighters will work every event at the dragway.
"We want to pull from Darlington County's extreme knowledge in firefighting, safety and first aid," said Russell Miller, owner of Darlington Dragway.
The tankers Pine Ridge 8 Fire District currently use are past the lifespan of a recommended fire truck. Now, one out of the six will finally be replaced with a brand new tanker. This is the one they hope to use when working the dragway events.
Miller believes this agreement is a benefit for himself and the entire county.
"Because we don't want to use taxpayers' money to fund a private deal like Darlington Dragway, in that agreement we are going to make sure the taxpayers don't lose anything they are paying for. Anything that's damaged, Darlington Dragway pays for," he said.
Darlington County Deputy Fire Chief Ricky Flowers agreed. He said the district covers a rural area and there aren't many fire hydrants around, so firefighters depend a lot on the tanker shuttles.
"So we decided we were going to go with a dual purpose truck. It pumps at a fire and it brings water to the fire, a lot of water to the fire at one time," he said.
The new tanker holds 1,800 gallons of water, compared to the 1,000-gallon capacity of the old tanks.
In addition to more space, the new tanker has upgraded pump technology with digital dials and will require less maintenance overall.
Flowers said his hope is to replace all the old tankers so fire personnel can help keep the drivers and fans safe at the dragway.
"That's our plan long term. We're still looking at options on how we are going to do it. There have been a lot of meetings to prepare our budget for this huge increase of what we're having to do, but we are in a position where it's time to start looking forward to those kinds of things. We love the fact they are bringing more business and visitors to Darlington County. That's our biggest thing and our primary concern is we want everyone who comes there to be safe," he said.
Flowers added if it weren't for county council and the people of Darlington supporting the fire district, it wouldn't be possible to buy the new truck. He said the department should have it within the next year.