The Chelsea Area Fire Authority‘s new bright red $700,000 aerial truck, Tower One, has arrived at its 200 West Middle St. home.
Chelsea Fire Chief Jim Payeur, Capt. Augustine Syrovy and the authority’s three newest lieutenants — Lance Baird, Scott Basar and Colt White – took turns driving it home from Appleton, Wis., before it was parked inside the downtown fire station on Tuesday night, Aug. 7.
“I always drive the first hundred miles,” Payeur said when asked if he took a turn at the wheel. “It rides nice and drives like a car.”
Because of its width, backing Tower 1 into its new bay in the refurbished fire station is a tight fit, however, Payeur said.
The new ladder truck is 42-foot long and about 11 feet, 7-inches tall, and replaces the authority’s 35-year old ladder truck, which is for sale, Payeur said.
While the old aerial has an 85-foot ladder; the 2012 aerial has a 105-foot ladder, a 2,000 gallon-per-minute pump capacity, and a 500-gallon water tank.
The old ladder truck was the fourth truck out of the station on a fire call, Payeur said, but that order will change with the new ladder truck.
“In the city, it will be the first one out,” Payeur said, adding that in rural areas, it will be third truck out on a scene.
The new ladder truck can be used as a “standalone suppression vehicle,” Payeur said, but provides firefighters with more versatility because it can perform multiple tasks.
The ladder can be safely positioned vertically or horizontally. “It can be used for rope rescue and assist in trench rescues,” he said, adding, “This tower can be used for suppression, rescue and ventilation at a fire scene.”
There are anchors on both sides of the vehicle, which stabilize the truck, making it safe for many situations that might confront firefighters on a fire or rescue scene.
“It’s the best aerial in the county,” said Firefighter A.J. Ellwein.
The fire authority put $150,000 down on the truck’s purchase from its truck replacement fund and the rest will be financed over a 15-year period at about $48,000 per year. There’s also a 25-year life expectancy.
Tower One is expected to be the first vehicle out the driveway for fire calls in the city, Payeur said. Currently, the authority also owns two fire engines, a tanker, a tower and two rescue vehicles.
“We thank the (fire) board and the community for their continued support that allowed us to purchase the aerial,” said Firefighter Roger Chapman.
CAFA operations are paid for through a 1.8 mil tax levy that was approved by the voters in the member municipalities of Sylvan, Lima, Lyndon townships and the City of Chelsea, which is up for renewal this year.
“The purchase of a new ladder truck was part of our millage promise,” Payeur said.