Previous instances of mechanical failure have been narrow misses, but statistics are growing less favorable for the small town.
Suppliers no longer sell replacement parts for the 1980 Ford E-1, and mechanics are increasingly reliant on junkyards to provide quick fixes, said Randy Lacey, Cave Spring public safety director.
The safety of the people in and around this historic small town is dependent on passage of a special purpose, local option sales tax presented to voters Nov. 7 that will buy a new truck, he said.
Cave Spring is asking for a little more than $2 million in SPLOST money that will strengthen the fire department and go toward renovation of a downtown building to serve as a community center.
About $1.2 million collected from the one-cent tax has been marked to pay for construction of a suitable fire station, so firemen can move out of their current makeshift facility across from city hall.
Topping the list of improvements, however, is the new fire truck, Lacey said.
The 26-year-old truck is in serious disrepair and has broken down a few too many times to be comfortable using it on a regular basis, he said.
The last time the truck went down was due to the power steering pump going out, but firemen were able to coast back to the station, said Lacey.
A few months earlier, the fire department was fighting a brush fire several miles outside the city when the truck overheated because of a broken water pump, he said.
On another occasion a fan in the engine came loose and punctured the radiator, Lacey said.
The SPLOST proposal presented by Cave Spring has set aside $350,000 for equipment improvements that include the fire truck, which can be bought at a minimum of $280,000, Lacey said.
Cave Spring plans to use $850,000 to pay the cost of buying land and building a new fire station on U.S. 411 near Spout Springs Road, according to the towns proposal to the SPLOST committee.
Lacey said the change in locations will not increase response times, which currently average about five minutes. Calls in town are much shorter, but the department also responds to the farthest reaches of Blacks Bluff Road.
The Cave Spring fire department has never had an official fire station, Lacey said. In the late 1980s firemen moved from their garage facility on Broad Street to their current location an abandoned paint and body shop once used by the Georgia School for the Deaf.
Cracks in the wall and floor stream across the building, causing the floor to drop more than an inch when fire trucks enter.
The sound of a creek flowing nearby is not the famous spring from the cave, but from the stream pouring from the back of the building, the chief said.
As far as keeping it livable, we cant really remodel or do any more good, Lacey said.
Time is the enemy in the case of the fire station, Lacey said, and could soon force firefighters to park the truck on the side of the road and mount up when the alarm sounds.
Money from the sales tax will also pay for a Cave Spring Community Center that will evolve through renovations to the downstairs of the former dining hall used by the Georgia School for the Deaf.
Its going to be the meeting place for the city of Cave Spring the place where people come together for senior citizen activities and youth groups, said Mayor Rob Ware.
City leaders have estimated the cost to be $850,000 to renovate the 1904 dining hall.
Ware said the proposed facility will be available for everyone in Cave Spring and southern Floyd County.
It will fill a variety of needs, the mayor said.
According to the Cave Spring SPLOST proposal, the 5,600-square-foot center will provide citizens a local center, eliminating travel for elderly people and allowing for a multitude of possible community activities.
Money from the SPLOST will be an opportunity for the city to improve the aesthetics of the city while holding on to its heritage and history of the GSD campus.
The city of Cave Spring is adamant in its determination to provide for its citizenry and to preserve the history of its community through its architectural heritage, the proposal said.
This project is an opportunity to accomplish both and to give all of its citizens a sense of community and a sense of pride in their city, according to the proposal.
Proposed 2006 SPLOST package
Length: 39 months
Floyd County projects
$25,127,000 (47.47 percent of revenues)
* Buy right-of-way for frontage roads on U.S. 411 to the Bartow County line, $3.3 million.
* Renovation of Fire Stations Nos. 2, 9 and 10, $410,000.
* Build Armuchee connector bridge over the Oostanaula River north of Mount Berry Square mall, $12 million.
* Add a recreation center at North Floyd Park in Armuchee, $3 million.
* Wolfe Park parking, lighting, restrooms and pavilion in Lindale, $200,000.
* Shannon Park ball fields and community center, $927,000.
* Improvements at 13 practice fields around the county, $650,000.
* Build a parking deck in the lot of the Historic Floyd County Courthouse for an additional 70 spaces, $1.54 million.
* Add two tennis courts at Etowah Park, $100,000.
* Work release center for nonviolent inmates, $1.75 million.
* Huffaker Road engineering and right-of-way acquisition, $1.25 million.
Cave Spring projects
$2,050,000 (3.87 percent of revenues)
* Fire station and equipment, $1.2 million.
* Senior and community center restoration of a historic Georgia School for the Deaf building, $850,000.
$25,759,825 (48.66 percent of revenues)
* Upgrade the Second Avenue levee gates and relocate the Heritage Park access point, $1.955 million.
* Transform the old East Main Elementary School into a youth and teen center to be operated by the Boys and Girls Clubs, $2 million from SPLOST (Total cost $2.5 million).
* Add a right turn lane on Turner McCall Boulevard at North Fifth Avenue, $550,000.
* Add a lane on North Broad Street at Turner McCall Boulevard, $330,000.
* Build a secondary access road at the rear of the Rome High and Middle school complex, $2.9 million.
* Upgrade the biosolids disposal system at the Rome wastewater treatment plant, $5.2 million.
* Renovate the city-owned U.S. Marine Corps Armory as a recreation headquarters and sports center, $1.6 million.
* Add right turn lanes on Shorter Avenue and Redmond Circle at their intersection, $1.47 million.
* Build a new training facility for the Rome Fire Department, upgrade three old stations, $500,000.
* Widen the Etowah River bridge on Turner McCall Boulevard, $2 million from SPLOST (Total cost $4.86 million).
* Renovate the old Oostanaula pump station at Ridge Ferry Park as a river education center, $834,825 from SPLOST (Total cost $1 million).
* Street, sidewalk and pedestrian safety improvements on the South Broad Street-East Main Street-East 12th Street corridor, $2 million.
* North Rome Swim Center improvements, $530,000.
* Build 10 new tennis courts, $500,000.
* Practice field improvements at four sites in the city, $200,000.
* Town green and interactive fountain on the riverfront next to The Forum, $1.69 million.
* City Hall/Carnegie Building exterior repairs, $1.5 million.