FALLS CITY – Falls City firefighters asked the city council Monday to modernize its trucks with a plan that includes a new aerial.
John McQueen, public information officer and part-time firetruck driver, said the department has major concerns regarding its 1981 ladder truck.
McQueen: “65-foot aerial truck that has been having major mechanical problems every time we seem to use it, due to its age. It’s time to replace it.”
McQueen said firefighters are proposing changing from two pumpers to an aerial, one pumper and a quick response truck.
He said the council is invited to inspect an 85-foot ladder truck on July 25.
McQueen: “It’s no commitment from the city that they are purchasing one, but it gives the fire department and the council members and mayor something to look at, something that they can kick the tires, they can go up in the bucket, they can see what the new technology is that is out there, verses what the old technology is.”
He said the new aerial will increase the safety of the citizens and their property.
The current ladder truck was the second truck out for a fire at the downtown restaurant Potrillos that called out 65 firefighters from seven different departments.
McQueen: “Performing our operations as we go up and set the ladder up, the hydraulics in the bucket failed and the ladder, I believe Brian Vice was actually up in it with another fireman. The ladder is suppose to self-level itself as it goes up in the bucket and I believe it dropped to like 30 degrees. They were literally up there hanging on for their lives with some safety belts attached to the rungs, trying to adjust the nozzle and put water down on the roof of the fire.”
Hiawatha, Kan., provided a snorkel ladder to protect the alley-side of the structure. The Falls City ladder started started freezing up because of the cold temperature and hydraulics.
McQueen said they eventually discontinued use of the ladder truck and tried to haul hoses up with the city’s bucket truck.