Chippewa Falls (WI) Getting New Fire Apparatus and Ambulance

The Chippewa Falls Fired Department is about to take delivery of some much needed new hardware.

A brand new fire truck and ambulance should be ready for action within a few days of each other next week. On Feb 25, the department will pick up a new Ford/Horton Ambulance. Two days later it will will receive a 2014 Pierce/Darley ladder truck.

“This is the first time this has ever happened,” said Fire Chief Tom Larson. The department has purchased new equipment before, but never have they received two new vehicles in the same week.

Originally the ambulance was supposed to arrive last October and the fire truck not until this May.

“The dates just kept converging,” Larson said.

Larson also said that these are some exciting acquisitions.

“These are wonderful upgrades for the department,” he said.

The ladder truck will replace a rig the department has been using for 33 years. The 1981 Snorkel/Darley with an 85 foot ladder has served the department well over the years, but its manufacturer is out of business, making the inevitable maintenance hard to do.

“We had a lot of issues trying to find parts,” Larson explained.

Two years ago, there was a major problem with the truck’s turntable, the part that rotates the ladder. The department had to go to St. Paul, Minn., to get it fixed. Since then, the truck has performed well.

“It still works great,” Larson said, explaining that this is what has allowed the department to find a buyer for the old truck.

The Bloomer fire department is buying the Snorkel for $17,500 to replace an even older truck, making the purchase a significant upgrade for that department as well.

Additionally, the Bloomer department offers mutual aid with Chippewa Falls. In the event of a large fire, Chippewa Falls could make use of Bloomer’s staff and equipment, so the old Snorkel is still available to the city.

“That was one of the nice things about selling it to Bloomer,” Larson said.

Besides being newer, the Pierce/Darley truck has a 15 foot longer ladder and double the capacity to lay water down on a fire.

“It’s a huge upgrade,” Larson said.

Another advantage is that despite having a bigger ladder and greater hose capactiy the footprint of the truck is the same as the old one. It will fit right in at the downtown fire station.

Although the new fire truck is a Pierce that was manufactured in Appleton, it comes equipped with a Darley pump and will be serviced in Chippewa Falls at the Darley plant, allowing for easier maintenance.

The ambulance being replaced is a 1999 Ford/Road Rescue. That vehicle is being traded in for the new ambulance. The department will drive it to Sterling, Ill., where they will swap it for the new ambulance coming from Columbus, Ohio.

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