Western Enterprise ladder truck arrives

November 28, 1997


Staff Writer

The grownups at the Western Enterprise Fire Co. received an early Christmas present Tuesday that would make most little boys and girls envious.

A red and white fire truck complete with siren, flashing lights and a 105-foot ladder was delivered from a Pennsylvania manufacturer.

But, the price tag would send most parents in shock.

The $549,298 ladder truck has features that will shave several minutes off of the time it takes to get a firefighter up a raised aerial ladder with a hose, said Deputy Fire Chief Richard Kipe of the Hagerstown Fire Department.


It would take at least two firefighters to use ropes to raise the ladder on any of the city's three old ladder trucks and then they would have to run the hose to the top, Kipe said.

On the new truck, a single firefighter can raise the ladder with electronic controls at the top or base of the ladder, he said. The hose already is attached to the ladder, so all firefighters have to do is attach the water source to the base of the truck, Kipe said.

The truck is the first of two the city is buying to replace the three old trucks. The city has a 1975 truck, a 1978 truck and a ladder truck whose trailer dates back to 1959.

Western Enterprise's truck is expected to be in service at the 526 Washington Square fire company by mid-January, Fire Chief Gary Hawbaker said Wednesday.

The second truck for Pioneer, Hook & Ladder Co. at 21 W. Franklin St. is expected to arrive in two weeks and be in service by Feb. 1, Hawbaker said.

Firefighters still need training to operate the new trucks and equipment such as intercoms and radios need to be installed, Kipe said.

The new ladder trucks are made of stainless steel so they are expected to last longer, 20 to 30 years, Kipe said. The older trucks were made of galvanized steel and lasted about 20 years.

The new ladder truck can handle 500 pounds and reach 105 feet at any angle, including straight, Kipe said. Ladders on the old trucks could only handle 250 pounds and reach as far as 100 feet from certain angles, he said.

The trucks can seat six people in the front tractor and the single driver in the rear trailer, Kipe said. Instead of being exposed to the elements, the rear driver sits in an enclosed cab with air conditioning and heat.

The first truck will be paid for with a federal Community Development Block Grant, Kipe said.

The second truck will be paid for with bond money, Hawbaker said. That money will be reimbursed by the sale of the three old ladder trucks, general fund money and a $200,000 donation over 10 years by Western Enterprise and Pioneer fire companies. Hawbaker said he hopes to get at least $50,000 for each of the old trucks.

The two fire companies will donate $10,000 each year for 10 years from Washington County tip jar revenues.

By buying two new trucks, city officials expect to save about $5,000 a year for five years in maintenance costs on the old trucks, Hawbaker said.

The trucks were made by Quality Manufacturing in Talladega, Atlanta; Duplex Corp. in Dover, Ohio; and Aerial Innovations in Reinholds, Pa., Kipe said.

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