Foscoe, NC Fleet Built to Take the Call


Breda, Iowa - Nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, between the cities of Banner Elk and Boone, you will find the bustling community of Foscoe. Although there are approximately 2,500 year-round residents, during the peak tourist seasons for this portion of the High Country, that quiet little community will see its population swell to over 6,000. For Matt Aldridge, fire chief of the Foscoe Volunteer Fire Department, along with his 28 firefighters, 11 of whom are also first responders, the safety of each and every one of these residents and visitors is their only focus.

Though this picturesque area may sound sleepy to many, this department records over 300 calls annually, and has two separate firehouse locations to accommodate their needs.

"We generally have between three and five structure fires and three to four wildland fires a year, but our most common calls are EMS [Emergency Medical Services] calls," Aldridge said. "We are right in the middle of two college towns on Highway 105, which is a pretty busy highway and we see a lot of accidents. We are also home to many retired individuals, and this increases the number of medical-related emergency calls."

Although the Foscoe volunteers never know exactly when a call is going to come in, they are confident in their ability to handle anything, because of their Toyne Tailored fleet of emergency vehicles.

Since 2002, the Foscoe Volunteer Fire Department has purchased seven fire trucks from the Breda, Iowa manufacturer. And, according to Aldridge, they have no intentions of going anywhere else.

"A lot of truck companies try to sell you what they want you to have," he said. "At Toyne the trucks are built the way we want them. They are completely custom and, 99 percent of the time, they make our crazy ideas work."

The first Toyne Tailored Apparatus the department purchased was a Pumper, and they quickly followed that with an order for a Rapid Attack vehicle to be delivered three years later, in 2005. They doubled up on the next purchase with two Tankers in 2007, and ordered their first two-wheel drive vehicle in 2012 to maneuver more easily in the residential areas. In 2014 they received their custom-ordered four-wheel drive Pumper and will be taking possession of their first Rescue Truck this coming spring.

Although each truck is built to their exacting specifications, Aldridge said they have really had to work hard to get the new Rescue Truck ready for production.

"They [Toyne] have been very patient with me," he explained. "We have never built a truck like this. We began the process between three and four years ago and have worked to make sure all the t's are crossed and all the i's dotted. This is a big purchase that is going to be with us for the next 20 years. You have to do it right."

Before this latest purchase is out the door at Toyne, the Foscoe Volunteer Fire Department is discussing their next vehicle. They will be retiring a truck from their fleet in the near future, and are going to be replacing it with a new Toyne Pumper. What is truly remarkable for this department is that of the seven Toyne trucks they have purchased, they have sold only one.

"The only Toyne truck we have sold is the Rapid Attack we bought in 2005. The vehicle was top-of-the-line, but it no longer matched up to the needs of the growing department," explained Aldridge. "What it boils down to is that every time we buy a truck, we research them all, but we keep coming back to Toyne. There is quality in the way they are built that is also evident in the way they stand up to everything we put them through."

The other factor that Aldridge says keeps them coming back to Toyne is the customer service. Once in a while, they will have a repair or warranty call, and the serviceman has always been top notch.

"The reality is, we don't see him very often, but when we do, it is always an excellent experience," said Aldridge. "The way that Toyne supports its dealers and its customers is another reason we stick with Toyne."

Aldridge and his team are so proud of their Toyne trucks that they have become spokesmen for their dealer, Melton Fire Group.

"We get a lot of calls and our dealer sends customers over to see our trucks," he added. "We can answer any questions they have and they can see for themselves how the Toyne trucks have handled the wear and tear, the salt and the weather over the years and are nothing but quality, from the oldest to the newest in our fleet."

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