ONTARIO – For most of the past year Ontario Fire & Rescue Chief Clint Benson often agonized over a series of “what ifs” regarding the lack of a ladder truck for his department.
The department’s former ladder truck, considered essential for high-profile, dangerous fires, failed a routine inspection in February and was taken out of service.
Back then, Benson was adamant the loss of the truck was a severe blow to his department’s ability to fight fires.
Fast-forward eight months and those worries were checked during a “push-in” ceremony, Friday, Nov. 17 at the fire hall in Ontario. The ceremony formally added a new ladder truck to the agency’s fleet.
The 2012 Pierce with 42,000 miles on it expands the capability of his department, said Benson.
“We gained a safer ladder truck and more pumping capacity,” said Benson.
The truck, which cost $630,000, can pump 2,000 gallons of water a minute and “that exceeds what we had.”
The 100-foot ladder includes a platform for firefighters to use two water guns instead of one as on the former ladder truck.
“As far as pumping lots of water it gives us a lot of capabilities we just didn’t have. It can pump more water than our hydrants can handle” he said.
That means, he said, the fire department can splash more water on a blaze.
Benson also retrofitted the four-seat truck to hold two more firefighters.
That upgrade means Benson can deploy more firefighters faster.
The peace of mind he can now count on is welcome, said Benson.
“We can do more with this ladder than we could with our last one,” he said.
News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]
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