ST. FRANCISVILLE — West Feliciana Parish Fire Protection District 1 has agreed to buy a new truck to serve as both a firefighting pumper and rescue truck from Ferrara Fire Apparatus of Holden.

Fire Chief James Wood said the purchase is part of a continuing program to replace the department’s original 17 fire trucks, which are 24 years old.

The new truck will carry equipment needed to fight fires but also carries rescue equipment for freeing people trapped in wrecked vehicles or for rope rescues, Wood said.

The truck will cost $398,000 with ladders, a deck monitor and hydraulic hose reels, the fire chief said.

Wood said one of the district’s primary concerns is spending its tax money wisely in the face of declining property tax revenue in the parish.

Voters renewed the district’s 6-mill property tax for 10 years last year, but the depreciation of the River Bend nuclear power plant is causing overall revenue to decrease.

The new truck will eliminate the need to replace an in-service rescue truck by combining the pumper and rescue functions in one vehicle, saving between $100,000 and $250,000, he said.

The new truck also will save on insurance and maintenance, Wood said. The truck will be delivered in September.

The rural fire district works closely with the St. Francisville and Louisiana State Penitentiary fire departments and has mutual-aid agreements with departments outside the parish in Jackson, Pecan Grove north of Zachary and Wilkinson County, Miss.

Last week, the department responded to two calls for assistance in Mississippi, including a blaze that destroyed a garage made of cypress valued at $85,000, Wood said.