Hamblen gets fire-fighting grant

State Sen. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown, and state Rep. Rick Eldridge, R-Morristown, announced Monday that Hamblen County will receive a Community Development Block Grant to improve county fire-fighting efforts.

Southerland and Eldridge made the announcement after receiving the information from the Department of Economic and Community Development.

The grant, totaling $382,905, will be used to purchase equipment to improve fire protection services in Hamblen County.

“Fire protection is a critical need for our citizens,” Southerland and Eldridge said in a joint statement. “This kind of infrastructure is very important not only to the safety and well-being of our citizens but also to the overall economic development of our county. We are pleased these funds are forthcoming, and appreciate the excellent work by our local officials in helping to secure these funds and the department’s attention to this needed project.”

The funds were allocated under a procedure authorized by the Tennessee General Assembly. ECD administers the grant program based on priorities set at the local level where community needs are best known.

Hamblen County Mayor Bill Brittain said the funds will go to buy a tanker/fire truck for West Volunteer Fire Department. He said the county had applied for it earlier this year. It’s the second such grant the county has received.

Two years ago, the county received a Community Development Block Grant to buy a fire truck for East Volunteer Fire Department.

Brittain said it is an ongoing effort by the county to improve its fire services and also, hopefully, improve its ISO rating, which would mean lower insurance premiums for residents.

“It’s helping us improve our firefighting across the county,” Brittain said.