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The Kennebecasis Valley Fire Department's ladder truck, known as Quint 1. Image: Staff photo

KV Fire chief makes case for upgraded ladder truck

By Brad Perry Feb 20, 2024 | 3:04 PM

The Kennebecasis Valley Fire Department is recommending that a new ladder truck be ordered this year.

Chief Michael Boyle made the case for an upgraded apparatus during last week’s Rothesay council meeting.

Boyle said the department’s current ladder truck, known as Quint 1, is turning 15 years old this year.

“Fire apparatus are not like private vehicles in that when you go and you look at a fire truck, they’re well maintained and they look like they’re in great shape,” he said.

“But fire trucks are used about the worst way possible you can use a truck. We start them cold, we run them hard, and then we park them again and leave them. What the truck looks like actually masks the condition of the truck.”

The National Fire Protection Association recommends that fire apparatus more than 15 years old “that have been properly maintained and that are still in serviceable condition” be placed in reserve status and upgraded.

If a replacement does not occur, the Fire Underwriters Survey can revoke fire insurance grading for that particular vehicle, which could impact property insurance rates throughout the community.

Even though the ladder truck is turning 15 years old in the coming months, Boyle said getting a new one is not an easy task.

“If you gave me $10 million tonight, I couldn’t get a fire truck,” said the fire chief, noting the turnaround from order to delivery is around three to four years.

And with costs rising on an annual and sometimes even quarterly basis, Boyle said it is better to order it sooner rather than later.

Deputy Mayor Matt Alexander said it seems like a “pretty obvious” decision given the turnaround time to get a new vehicle.

Alexander questioned how tall the new ladder truck would be, given the rise in larger apartment buildings being constructed in the Kennebecasis Valley.

Boyle said they would be looking to get the maximum height they could from a tandem fire truck, likely in the range of 100 to 110 feet.

When asked about costs, the chief said they were quoted between $2.8 million and $3 million about five months ago.

Costs for any new equipment would be split between the towns of Rothesay and Quispamsis, since the department serves both communities.

Rothesay council voted to refer the request to its finance committee for further discussion. Fire officials are expected to present to Quispamsis council in March.