Cumberland’s new Ladder 1 prepped for service

Cumberland’s new Ladder 1 prepped for service

Cumberland firefighters get accustomed to their new ladder truck during training at Tucker Field. (Breeze photos by Amanda Levenson)

CUMBERLAND – A new fire truck, known as Ladder 1, has joined the town’s fire department and will stop, drop, and roll into action sometime in September.

The Cumberland Fire Department purchased the vehicle, a 2010 Pierce Arrow, for $380,000 from a fire station in Joppa, Maryland, through the fire truck broker Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus. The truck arrived in town July 20, and will go into commission this fall after modifications are completed.

“The opportunity to replace the (current) vehicle cost-effectively showed now, and I had to act in the best interest of the residents,” said Fire Chief Kenneth Finlay.

The current truck that fire personnel are running is 17 years old and has about eight years left of useful life, according to fire officials. The new vehicle is seven years old and has 33,000 miles on it, and should last for many years to come.

Since the truck is much newer than firefighters’ current set of wheels, its features are more modern. The 105-foot steel construction aerial will enable firefighters to reach high-rise buildings. The abundance of compartment space will allow them to bring more equipment. Roll-up doors will make it easier to maneuver when the truck is in confined spaces on the scene. A jack spread, or truck width, of 13 feet will make the truck less intrusive on narrow streets.

Strategic thought went into every characteristic of the new truck, said Finlay, and every feature is meant to improve efficiency.

“The tool box that we’re going to bring is going to be far superior than the tool box that we use now,” he said.

According to Finlay, the purchase needed to happen before officials replace the Ashton station at 1530 Mendon Road. This was the best option to alleviate truck concerns before beginning that process.

When the chief first saw the truck on the Brindlee Mountain website, he said he didn’t think much of it. He wound up taking a second look, and decided to take a trip down to Maryland to look at the vehicle. He went along with five other people for extra opinions.

To their surprise, it looked much better in person.

“This is much better than all the pictures. The pictures just didn’t do it justice,” said Finlay. “I’m thankful, though, because someone else might have gotten it.”

Among those who traveled to Maryland, it was unanimous that this was the truck the station needed. Personnel went to check out the vehicle equipped with a 72-point check list, and 71 of their points were met.

The only feature not included was a water tank and pump, but they’ve already found a solution: customize a skid unit pump system to fit in one of the vacant compartments.

Modifications, including lettering and a radio system, will cost an additional $10,000.

Finlay said he is working on obtaining an Assistance to Firefighters Grant to help subsidize the purchase. Officials applied for the grant to cover 60 percent of the cost of the ladder truck, and now the station is waiting to hear back.

Firefighters have been training with the new truck at Tucker Field. Each shift takes it out for an hour or two each day. “You don’t want to learn about it when you really need it,” Finlay said. “You want to know everything about it before you need it.”

The public will have a chance to see it at an open house this fall, said Finlay. Firefighters hope to have it ready in time for Cumberland’s Touch-a-Truck event on Aug. 27.

As for the old truck, it will go into reserve, but Finlay said officials will still advertise the vehicle for sale to see if there is any interest.

Cumberland Fire Chief Kenneth Finlay led the search for a new ladder truck.

Comments

Congrats to the Chief, men and women of CFD. Best wishes and much safety during the life of the ladder.

Continuing to work hard and smart for the Town.

Wonder why the got rid of such a good truck?