A new $1.2 million advanced fire suppression fire truck was put into service this week — 17 months after the ladder truck it replaced was retired due to age and mechanical problems.
That vehicle had been in service since 1988.
“The timing could not have been better,” Fire Chief John Nuttall said of the new vehicle arrival. “This is a complicated truck.”
“The old truck was a great truck. Unfortunately, with age all the parts went,” he said.
In April 2014, voters authorized the $1.2 million capital exclusion to purchase the mid-mount aerial ladder truck custom manufactured by Ferrara Fire Apparatus Inc.
It took Ferrara about a year to build the apparatus from the ground up with input during a visit by Abington fire officials at the company’s plant in Holden, Louisiana.
Specialty Vehicles Inc., in Attleboro, installed the radio system and other important electrical components and detailed the exterior of the vehicle.
The HD-100 Mid-Mount Platform comes with a slew of advanced features including an Inferno custom chassis, extruded aluminum body, heavy duty mid-mount aerial platform and a five-section aerial ladder.
The truck is equipped with a 300-gallon water tank and a Hale QMAZ pump capable of delivering 1,250 to 2,000 gallons of water every minute. There is also a complete onboard tool set, ground ladders and a supply hose.
The hydraulic aerial platform can accommodate up to five firefighters and even a wheelchair.
Two firefighters will be assigned to the aerial ladder truck at all times and two will work split duty on ambulance runs, the chief said.
Nuttall said the production specs called for a shorter truck with a mid-mounted aerial because the vehicle otherwise would have been too long to fit into the parking bay.
“We could not just take a stock truck,” Nuttall said.
Abington firefighters received several days of training in the use of the vehicle that included a field test on a condemned house on Route 58.
Fire officials from Brockton and Boston assisted in getting Abington firefighters up to speed.
“Primarily, this is an aerial truck, not a pumper. We like to think of this as an aerial truck with a pump,” Nuttall said.
Since June 2014, the department relied on mutual aid because the old ladder truck had been retired from service.
Assistant Town Manager Dori R. Jamieson said that placed the town at a disadvantage in terms of rapid response time.
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