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Cruiser purchase OKed in Calhoun County

Calhoun County vehicle caught fire July 3

Photos provided A Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department cruiser was deemed a total loss after it caught fire caused by hay on the road.

GRANTSVILLE — Calhoun County Commissioners have approved the purchase of a new cruiser for the sheriff’s department after a vehicle was destroyed in a fire earlier this month.

The fire occurred July 3 while a deputy was on routine patrol in the southern part of the county and came across a large bail of hay in the road, Sheriff Jeff Starcher said.

The deputy cleared the hay. He drove about a quarter of a mile down the road when hay heated up against the catalytic converter and caught fire.

“We lost several thousand (dollars) worth of equipment. The radio alone was $10,000,” Starcher said.

The insurance would cover the lost equipment as well, he said.

The vehicle, a 2011 Ford Crown Victoria, was a gift from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department last fall. Starcher said it was one of their nicer vehicles.

The town of Clendenin contacted Starcher saying they had a vehicle they were getting ready to rotate out of service and was willing to sell it to Calhoun County.

It’s a 2014 vehicle with around 60,000 miles. Starcher said the town has mutually agreed to sell it for $5,000, but that decision has not been made official.

Starcher said he would like to take possession of the car by Friday.

It will come with a light bar and a siren, but it will still need a radar and radio.

During Monday’s Calhoun Commission meeting via Zoom, the commissioners decided to write a check for the $5,000 and the insurance money will go back into the general county fund when those funds come through.

County commissioners asked Starcher for a quote of the amount of money lost in the fire.

“The commission is going to make it right with us whatever we’re out,” Starcher said.

Candice Black can be reached at cblack@newsandsentinel.com.

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