The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department has its first ever ladder truck .
The truck arrived Wednesday night.
Fire Chief Charlie Parker said while the truck (Ladder 1) will not be put into service until some related equipment is installed, members of the fire department are happy to have it. "They (company) delivered the truck to us around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night. We're all excited to get it here. We still have a lot of work to do to get all the equipment on it. We have some basic equipment that has to be mounted on it like hoses, nozzles, and other things to make everything where we can use it but we'll try to get it in service as fast as we can," he said.
City firefighters are also receiving some training in the use of the new truck, according to Chief Parker. "We've had quite a bit of training on it. Some of them (firefighters) have had the aerial classes before but we still have probably forty to fifty hours of training we'll be doing in-house. We'll have different instructors coming in to give instruction on how to use the ladder truck in the most efficient way. For us getting use to it, there are some drills and different scenarios that we're going to do, getting to where we're proficient on the operation of the ladder truck. So we've still got quite a bit of training to do over the next month or so in order for us to be able to use the ladder truck to the best of its ability," he said.
With the addition of Ladder 1, Chief Parker said the city now has three fire trucks in the fleet. "Ladder 1 is what our call sign is for this truck. The other engines are engine 1 and 2," he said.
Ladder 1 will most likely be used in response to all structure fires in the city, according to Chief Parker. "We're still in the process of re-writing our protocols for response but this truck will primarily go on all the structure fires for right now, small, large or whatever. That's the biggest reason we have it (truck). But it won't go on every (fire) call," he said.
In the meantime, members of the fire department are anxious for folks to see the truck. "We're going to be out over the next couple of weeks trying to show it off to the general public. We'll be answering questions, letting them have some input on what it does, and giving them some general information about it," said Chief Parker. Ladder 1 will be on display for public viewing downtown Friday evening during the First Day of School Education Celebration and everyone is invited to come by and get a closer look.
In May, city aldermen adopted a recommendation by Chief Parker to accept a bid from EVS-Midsouth, Inc of Memphis for this Pierce Impel 75 foot aerial ladder truck with a 1,750 gallon per minute pump/500 gallon tank.
The aldermen, at the suggestion of Taft Hendrixson, who was mayor at the time, chose to make the initial $250,000 down payment to EVS-Midsouth for the truck as called for in the bid, and to pay the rest off, $496,305 upon delivery. The total cost of the truck is $746,305
All the money for the purchase of the truck has been appropriated from the city's general fund reserve.