Opelousas (LA) Getting New Fire Apparatus

A new $619,000, state-of-the-art ladder truck will soon join the Opelousas Fire Department fleet, which will help the city’s fire rating.

The new truck features a 450-horsepower engine, a 300-gallon water tank, LED lighting and seating for six.

The new truck is free to the city. The parish was awarded about $12 million in hurricane recovery funds by the Louisiana Recovery Authority following hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

“I’m heading over to (Ferrara Fire Apparatus in) Holden for the final inspection. It should be delivered next week,” said Fire Chief Lee Cahanin Wednesday.

The city has a fire rating of two, making it one of only a handful in the state to achieve such a milestone.

Fire districts are rated from one to 10, with 10 being the worst. Almost no city gets a one and few can achieve a rating of two.

As each rating point is worth about a 9 percent drop in fire insurance premiums for local homes and businesses, the impressive rating is saving city residents money.

But the city only made the rating by a slim margin five years ago. Maintaining it is a challenge.

A reliable water system with good pressure is worth about 50 percent of the city’s grade. The new water storage tank on Crowley Street is a big help.

The rest of the grade comes from training and equipment, and Cahanin said the new HD-77 Aerial Ladder truck will certainly help.

The city already has a ladder truck that can do the job, but that truck is more than 20 years old. As a result, it is spending much of its time in the shop.

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