New truck to help battle blazes in big buildings Vehicle comes with a 93-foot ladder and $798,000 price tag

Staff Writer


New truck to help battle blazes in big buildings
Vehicle comes
with a 93-foot ladder
and $798,000 price tag

RED BANK — With its higher density, high-rise buildings and an active downtown area generating considerable traffic, firefighters in the borough often face challenges that differ from those of their more suburban neighboring communities.

To help those battling the blazes, the borough has purchased a new state-of-the-art firetruck.

"We’re a melting pot for everybody," when you take into consideration Riverview Medical Center, the various senior facilities, and the apartment complexes, explained Fire Chief Thomas Doremus.

"There are a lot of high-rises in town, which is a fireman’s nightmare," Doremus said.

Some of the largest structures include the Navesink House senior facility and the Riverview Towers cooperative apartment complex on Riverside Avenue, and the Granville Towers apartments, located on Moford Place, according to the chief.

The new vehicle is a 93-foot tower ladder truck equipped with an aerial platform apparatus, according to Doremus.

"The advantage is you place that on a structure and place two or three guys in the bucket," Doremus explained. "It gives us a lot more capability, and there’s a lot more we can do with this."

The cost to the borough for the new truck is $798,000, which includes the installation of additional equipment and an extended warranty, according to Borough Administrator Stanley J. Sickels.

"This (vehicle) provides a higher degree of safety for firefighters," Sickels said.

The truck was manufactured by the American La France Corp. and was built at the company’s factory in Ephrata, Pa., Sickels said.

The new vehicle will replace a truck the department has had since 1962. That vehicle, was purchased for $66,000, according to Sickels. He noted the old truck has been increasingly difficult to keep operational.

"It was tough to get parts for," he said. "Maintenance was a nightmare."

The 39-year-old truck also required two drivers, unlike the new one, Sickels said.

Local fire departments are advised by the Insurance Service Office, an agency formed by insurance companies, which recommends fire departments replace equipment every 20 years, according to Sickels.

The administrator said the new vehicle is being housed at the Navesink Hook and Ladder Fire Company on Mechanic Street. The truck is currently in the borough for a couple of weeks to train the members of that company on its operation. It will be returned to the dealership for installation of additional equipment, he said.

"It really is state-of-the-art and very versatile," Doremus noted. "But it’s not something you can get in and drive away."

Sickels said 20 of the Navesink company’s 45 members will receive training to drive the truck.

The borough will be advertising for public bids to sell the old vehicle, he added.

The fire department responds to 800 – 1,000 calls a year, and has about 200 members in its six companies, Doremus said.

The department’s equipment consists of five engine trucks, two ladder trucks, and rescue vehicles, including two ambulances, according to Doremus.

The department also has rescue, scuba and fire police teams, he said.