GFD gets new ladder truck getting ready for fire duty

Gilroy
– The Gilroy Fire Department brought its new aerial ladder truck
to town Wednesday, a year after deciding to replace its current
23-year-old truck.
By Lori Stuenkel

Gilroy – The Gilroy Fire Department brought its new aerial ladder truck to town Wednesday, a year after deciding to replace its current 23-year-old truck.

“Truck 61,” as the $573,000 vehicle is called, will not be put into service immediately.

“It still needs to be outfitted with equipment,” Division Chief Dave Bozzo said. “We’re going to bring it in so we can do some training on it. Primarily, the training will be to familiarize staff with all the potential of that vehicle, which is driving, pump operations, ladder tower operations.”

The GFD is still waiting for the truck’s radio communications system to come in, and must install the needed hoses; Emergency Medical Services equipment; firefighting equipment such as axes, hand tools, power tools, and rescue equipment; and specialized equipment designed for operations, Bozzo said.

The additional equipment is expected to cost an additional $75,000 to $100,000, with a large portion of that going toward equipment for paramedic services – $25,000 for a defibrillator alone, Bozzo said.

The current ladder truck – the oldest vehicle used by Gilroy Fire – will remain in use until the new one is completed.

Once it is on the road, the American LaFrance-built truck will be able to reach the tallest buildings in the city, including big-box stores in the newer retail developments at the intersection of highways 101 and 152. It has a 75-foot ladder, as opposed to the 55-foot ladder on the old Truck 61, plus the expected improvements that come with a new, state-of-the-art truck.

“There’s been significant improvements over the years to the manufacturing of trucks, so they have bigger drive trains and more powerful drive trains, (and) a lot more safety features,” Bozzo said.

Four firefighters will staff the ladder truck, which will continue to be housed at Chestnut Station, 7070 Chestnut St., is typically reserved for major fires needing a ladder, but is deployed as needed to larger fires in the city and is available for mutual aid in the county, Bozzo said.

The current ladder truck will eventually be retired and sold.

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