In 2018, the current 1993 (26 year old) ladder truck failed
its drift test. It could no longer be
used as a rescue ladder truck. This meant
personnel could not work off the ladder due to safety issues with the hydraulic system being able to hold the
ladder in place. This created a dilemma for the department, because we have
numerous two, three and four story resort accommodations, motels, and
apartment/condo buildings throughout our jurisdiction.
The Fire Chief identified four options to address this
1.) Buy a new truck which would cost about a million dollars
and take a year plus to take delivery of.
2.) Fix the current apparatus which the Fleet Manager
recommended against due to its age, ability to get parts, out of service time
for the repairs and the amount of monies we would have spent on a 26 year old apparatus to make it
operational again. Additionally, NFPA 1911 identifies that an apparatus over 25
years old should be replaced.
3.) No longer have and operate a ladder truck. This would
leave people in multi-story buildings at risk. The fire protection class rating
for the City would most likely increase causing an increase in insurance
premiums for our commercial building owners.
If a ladder truck was needed (provided for the last 26 years) and was no longer
being provided, a case of liability could be made against the fire district.
4.) Buy a used ladder that would meet our needs with a
reasonable service life left.
After healthy and lengthy
discuss the Board of Fire Commissioners
agreed with the Fire Chief that our best option was to purchase a used ladder
The Chief and his staff did an extensive nationwide search
to see what was available in the pre-owned ladder truck market. Over 15
apparatus met our specifications. The staff
was able to narrow the field down, to the ones that were the most cost
effective and met the operational needs of
Assistant Chief Brandon Asher and Fleet Manager John Goyne
flew to Brindle Mountain, Alabama to review and select an apparatus. There they
found a 2007 Pierce 75’ ladder with a 2000 GPM pump 500 gallon tank and 12 year
service life remaining for the apparatus. New, in today’s world, this apparatus
would cost around a million dollars, and is estimated to have cost $850,000
when bought new in 2007. Following negotiations with the vendor, we were able
to secure the apparatus for $175,000. Everyone involved agreed this was a great
deal, and that it would meet the community’s needs. Best of all, we had the funds in our apparatus and equipment replacement
account to purchase the ladder.
After the apparatus was detailed, service tested (aerial and
pump), it was ready for delivery. To have the ladder truck shipped out on a
low–boy, it would of cost the department around $12,000. If the vendor’s
professional drivers drove it out to us, it would have cost around $6,500. So
then, the district decided to fly Lt. Johnny Synder (Station 73, Union Valley)
and another qualified driver to Brindle Mountain, Alabama to pick up the
apparatus this cost the district $3,600.00.
Yet, another example of how cost effective and financially
efficient your fire department has been over the last ten years.