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Fire Department gets inspection truck

by Annette Beard | September 12, 2023 at 8:00 a.m.
Annette Beard/Pea Ridge TIMES John Cottingham, inspector, shows the new Tahoe ...

Thanks to the generosity of a neighboring city, a mutual respect and good working relationship between the officials of both the Pea Ridge and Rogers fire departments, Pea Ridge was given a 2011 Tahoe for the inspector for the Fire Department.

John Cottingham, inspector for the Pea Ridge Fire Department, has a reliable vehicle to drive and has a tablet mount so he can do his reports from the sites.

Fire Chief Clint Bowen said the vehicle, a 2011 Tahoe, was given to Pea Ridge by Rogers.

Pea Ridge Fire Chief Clint Bowen works at Rogers Fire Department and has developed good working relationships with the administration there. That helped when he realized Pea Ridge Fire Department had needs.

The city administration recently hired an inspector who works with the fire department inspecting new construction as well as existing businesses.

"The thing is, John's not going to be a single inspector for long," Bowen said, referring to the tremendous growth in the city and the heavy work load on the position.

"I'm working with somebody else's budget," Bowen said, explaining that he has had to be creative with where the money is allocated. To that end, he looked at vehicles being surplussed by Rogers.

"My way of looking at things, even though it may be mission driven, if it's something that it looks like it rewards me or goes in my benefit, that does not happen until everything else is taken care of. That's a part of leadership -- I put everybody ahead of me," Bowen said. "I've got citizens to worry about; I've got firefighters here -- volunteer firefighters and a fleet that is obviously aging."

"We're doing our best ... it takes a lot of maintenance. Our maintenance budget is being hit pretty hard," Bowen said, explaining that he was raised in this area. "There were not a whole lot of rich people and we were some of those people and we farmed with older tractors and older equipment and we worked on it every winter until it was ready to go the next spring. So, I come from that life style.

"When we hired John, which was one of our biggest needs, we weren't 100% sure we'd be able to get a vehicle for him," Bowen said. "I went back and spoke to Chief Jenkins (Rogers fire chief) ... everybody had just surplussed everything."

Bowen said he soon learned there were two Tahoes being surplussed by Risk Reduction of the Fire Department. He said he called Jenkins about buying the vehicle and was told he could have it.

Bowen said Jenkins has been a mentor to him for the past 15 years and he was reluctant to ask for the vehicle, but said Jenkins was adamant about giving it to Pea Ridge.

"He gave one to us and one to Avoca," Bowen said. "It took less than 45 days. Super good story about what I think northwest Arkansas is. You may have a name on your shirt, but you're also looking to make sure everybody is successful.

"We're all in the business of taking care of citizens and it warms my heart to know that they're just as worried about Pea Ridge as they are their own."

Pea Ridge Mayor Nathan See said: "I'm really appreciative of the partnership we have with Rogers. This is another apparatus they've provided for us. I'm grateful for the collaboration and partnership that helps us have the correct equipment if and when we ever have to assist them."

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