CLINTON — Clinton's firefighters soon will be seen navigating a new 107-foot ladder truck.
The more-than $850,000 addition, which will be paid for with 20-year general obligations bonds — will replace a still-in-use 75-foot ladder truck. Dating to "the horse-and-buggy era," Battalion Chief Joel Atkinson explained, the new truck before it goes online will be washed using the old truck and rolled into the station by on-duty Clinton firefighters. The old truck will be put out for bid to smaller fire departments or other buyers.
The No. 59 ladder truck, from Pierce Manufacturing, arrived two weeks ago. It holds 480 gallons of water and 20 gallons of special-use foam. The foam, which actually replaces 20 gallons of water space, voids the need for other apparatuses as now the hose will automatically be injected with the foam that helps to extinguish fires.
The truck also is on a single-rear axle, rather than double. This improves mobility on the large piece of equipment; it's also the first truck of its size to operate this way, according to Atkinson. It has a standpipe connection at the top of the ladder, so the department will have easy-access hose hookup. Also, the truck has a 1,500-gallons-per-minute nozzle versus the previous ladder truck's 1,250 gallons per minute.
"Everyone is just amazed at the technology difference," Atkinson said
This a 2018 capital improvement project just now taking shape — which Atkinson said speaks to the amount of work put into the truck. During an interview, he found conversations dated April 2017, when the purchase was in its beginning stages. The 18-month timeline started after a city-needs assessment.
Atkinson explained that with planned developments such as the Wilson Building apartments in downtown Clinton, the department started to look at the changes that could be taking place over the next 20 years.
"(We) appreciate the taxpayer support that has always existed for new equipment," he said.