The Westbrook Fire Department has just purchased a new truck to replace its aging ladder truck.

Fire Chief Gary Littlefield said the department has just taken delivery of a combination ladder/pumper truck that will take the place of 17-year-old Ladder 4, which has been out of service since last year after it failed to pass an inspection of its ladder unit last October.

The new truck, a 2004 model with just 5,000 miles on it, cost $569,000, and was paid for through a bond approved by the City Council earlier this year.

The new truck has a 75-foot ladder, as opposed to the old truck’s 100-foot ladder, but Littlefield said the new ladder would be adequate for the department’s needs. He said while the department was looking at new trucks, they went to various places in Westbrook to see if the smaller ladder would work. He said the department found that in “99 percent” of the cases, the 75-foot ladder would reach the top of buildings, including the Dana Warp Mill and One Riverfront Plaza. For those few cases where a bigger ladder is needed, Littlefield said the department could call one from one of the surrounding communities that provide mutual aid to Westbrook.

In addition, Littlefield said the smaller ladder truck has the advantage of being more maneuverable and easier to use, as well as being far less expensive.

Unlike the old ladder truck, the new truck also has the capability of carrying its own water supply. Littlefield said the truck has a 500-gallon water tank on board, which is enough water for about five minutes of fire fighting. Littlefield said the 500-gallon tank is typical of the department’s other trucks, and once that supply is exhausted, firefighters rely on hydrants to supply water to fight fires.

The new truck will not be in service until the end of August, Littlefield said. Firefighters are currently undergoing training on the proper operation of the equipment, and once that is completed, the truck will take its place in the fire department’s fleet.

The Westbrook Fire Department recently took delivery of a new combination ladder/pumper truck. The new truck replaces a 17-year old model that was no longer operational.

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