WARRENTON, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- Early Monday morning the primary fire truck for the Warrenton Fire Protection District broke down and had to be towed. The three-person fire crew was returning to station #2 after assisting an EMS crew on a medical call.

"They started getting alarms going off in the truck, that the truck was heating up and they wanted to go into shutdown mode," said fire chief Anthony Hayeslip.

Hayeslip said it turned out that a clamp on a hose to the radiator had failed. For a period, the community had to rely on the Wright City Fire Protection District to respond to any emergencies. The truck breakdown brought attention to the fire protection district's trio of aging trucks and its inability to replace any of them because of a serious financial strain.

"When I took over chief in 2019, all of our reserves had been used. So, we've had to make major cuts," said Hayeslip.

He said one fire station was sold and another is on the market. The fire department hasn't been able to replace any of its three fire trucks, which include two fire rescue trucks and a pumper truck; all of which are aging and frequently need repairs, according to Hayeslip.

The fire protection district only has three firefighters on duty at any given time and 14 volunteer firefighters.

Voters have turned down five tax increase proposals since 2014. A sixth is on the April ballot, which would increase property taxes by 15 cents. Hayeslip said the tax increase would fund a five-year plan to increase staffing, increase repairs to trucks and increase training for firefighters.

"All those things together will secure our high level of service to the community and keep us going into the near future," said Hayeslip.

The tax increase is expected to cost homeowners an extra $30-$70 dollars a year and would generate around $430,000 in increased revenue for the fire protection district.

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