Thursday, December 1, 2005

Cayce gets helipad

Staff Writer

Fire and rescue in the northwestern portion of the county will be improved with generous donations including a new helicopter pad and 85-foot ladder truck, according to Harry Willis, assistant fire chief at Cayce.

The helipad came earlier than planned due to the donation of concrete by Dennis O’Grady, with Arco Construction Co. from Clearwater, Fla.

Neible Construction on Cayce Road spread the concrete and finished it out and Phil Scruggs provided the pad specifications and windsock. Other individuals and companies donated dirt and a Collierville, Tenn., company donated grass seed for reseeding the soil around the pad, Harris said. Another individual donated the paint for the helipad.

The helicopter pad will make it much safer for Air Wings to safely land and pick up trauma patients instead of having to look for landing spots along the highways, according to Harris.

“Considering we flew out about 37 trauma patients this year, it provides a much safer landing area for wings to come in and pick up trauma patients,” Harris said.

The ladder truck will make it possible for firefighters to address two or more story fires and get on roofs. The ladder truck is a 1970 vintage engine. Firefighters are cleaning the truck and getting it mechanically ready for deployment. It will be certified and put to work next year.

“It is going to be a great asset for us with these new buildings in the area (Chickasaw Trails Industrial Park),” he said.

The Cayce Fire Department dedicated the helipad Saturday, Nov. 19, at 4 p.m. at the fire station on 30 Lee Creek Road, with the first landing by Air Wings of Memphis at 4 p.m.

Marshall County Supervisor Eddie Dixon said the helipad is a plus for the county since the Cayce Fire Department serves as a central location for residents of the northwestern portion of the county.

“I think it is great, and unexpected,” said former fire chief Joe Winfield.

Ruth Van Landingham, a community member who has supported the Cayce Fire Station explained how the department lucked up and got the free helipad.

“Harry just asked him, ‘Before you leave, could we get a little concrete?’ He (O’Grady) said, when can you get the form?”

The aerial truck was another touch of luck, according to Winfield, who said Dr. Robert C. Ballard had put the truck on auction and didn’t get the bid he wanted.

“He said he would just donate it,” Winfield said.

Fire chief Charlie Free and Willis were on hand to thank the community for the contributions and hand out certificates of appreciation for those who provided material and labor to make it possible to have the helicopter pad.

“And thanks to all who support us,” Vanlandingham added.

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