Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News

MC Weekly

November 27, 2013

The call of duty

New facilities, equipment help Peru firefighters respond to emergencies.

When Peru Fire Chief Chris Betzner was first hired as a firefighter in the department more than 25 years ago, he was posted at the old firehouse at 12 N. Miami St.

The station was built in 1868 and was originally designed to house horse-drawn steam engines. More than 130 years later, it still was serving as the main headquarters.

It didn’t have any office space, and the entire fire department had to share one computer.

“I actually got hired in that relic,” Betzner said. “I remember sleeping right by a window, and when it snowed, you woke up with snow on your blanket.”

That all changed in 2002, when the city of Peru built a new $1.6 million fire station at 85 W. Canal St. It had plenty of office space, a training room, a small gym, a comfortable living area and a large five-bay garage to house fire engines, ladder trucks and other equipment.

That was the start of a major push to update and improve the fire department, and Betzner has kept the momentum going since taking on the role of fire chief.

In the last two years, the department purchased two new fire engines that brought the entire three-engine fleet into compliance with federal guidelines.

The department replaced a 1974 truck in 2012 after purchasing a new engine for $315,000.

Earlier this year, the department spent $350,000 on another new engine to replace the aging 1988 truck. That engine should arrive early next year from Pennsylvania. It’s being built from the ground up to meet the department’s specifications.

The department didn’t take a loan or issue bonds to buy the engines. Instead, Betzner made the purchases after setting back and saving money for years from the budget.

Not only are the engines newer and federally compliant, but they’re also a lot safer for firefighters. The 1988 truck getting replaced next year still has an open rear cab, exposing riders to the elements and making them more vulnerable to accidents.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
MC Weekly
  • RAY MOSCOWITZ: No joke: His life changed forever 50 years ago Do you remember the first major turning point in your life? It’s easy for me: April Fool’s Day, 50 years ago yesterday. At 8:54 a.m. on April 1, 1964, I parked my ’62 Chevy Impala in front of the Sears store on East Clinton Street in Frankfort, Ind.,

    April 2, 2014

  • Our current MC Weekly issue

    October 9, 2013

  • April 2, 2014: Police reports March 24, 1:40 p.m., deputies arrested Cassieopia Rhoads, 19, 200 block of West 6th Street, Peru, on a failure to appear warrant. March 24, 4:40 p.m., police arrested Charmichael Williams Jr., 18, and Lisa M. Hagedorn, 23, both of the 100 block of Ea

    April 2, 2014

  • MCW - 040214 - Brett Bowman column - pic BOWMAN: Grant, Hery back together After a season that saw them go different directions, Justin Grant and Mark Hery have reunited for the 2014 season. In the first event of the season over a month ago at the Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla., Grant put the Claxton Race Engines/Hery Mo

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • RAY MOSCOWITZ: Ole Olsen has been a Peru gem for 50 seasons When the final curtain drops on “Arsenic and Old Lace,” which runs April 24-27 and May 2-4, it will close the 50th season for Ole Olsen Theater, a Peru gem that deserves oodles of kudos. The first-ever curtain went up in March 1965, when Ole present

    March 26, 2014

  • Miami County Weekly sports briefs Maconaquah board votes to join TRC BUNKER HILL — The Maconaquah school board voted 5-0 last week in favor of having the Braves join the Three Rivers Conference, beginning in the 2015-16 school year. The Braves join fellow Miami County school Peru in

    March 26, 2014

  • March 26, 2014: Police reports March 17, 3:45 p.m., deputies arrested Jordan A. Cook, 23, 70 block of West 5th Street, Peru, on a probation violation warrant. March 17, 7:05 p.m., state police arrested William B. Stoller, 19, Elkhart, on a charge of possession of marijuana. March

    March 26, 2014

  • Farming exhibit at museum 4 A farming community It was in the 1880s when farming started shifting from old pioneer techniques that relied on hand tools to new-fangled machines like the steel plow, two-row cultivator and thresher. It’s also the time new scientific research recommended a crazy idea

    March 19, 2014 8 Photos

  • RAY MOSCOWITZ: Stepfather was inspiration for Peru trailblazer She remembers seeing him in his uniform and listening to the scanner while he was working. She wished she could be with him. That was when she was 2 or 3 years old. He would let her ride with him on Saturday night. A rush of excitement would shoot t

    March 19, 2014

  • UPDATE: Peru extends school day PERU — Students at Peru Community Schools will be staying at school longer for the next two weeks after the Peru School Board last week approved a one-hour extension to make up for snow cancellations. The one-hour extension started March 12 and will

    March 19, 2014

Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.