On March 22, the city council was informed by the fire chief that it was going to cost approximately $1.25 million to replace the aging arial Ladder 1, a 1995 Pierce heavy-duty ladder truck.
Aerial 1 is out of service.
The old Ladder 2 truck was sold many months back for $5,000.
This leaves only Aerial ladder 2 in working order. It is housed in the Ferry Street fire station.
Councilor Mike McLaughlin asked the chief to give an overview of the ladder truck situation.
“We are on borrowed time,” the chief replied.
Who is on borrowed time, we all should wonder?
Is it the people of Everett who rely on the rapid response of the fire department who are on borrowed time?
Is it the firefighters who need working equipment when it comes to matters of life and death when a building is on fire? The city has one aerial truck to rely on right now. The second ladder truck is out of service and so is virtually and physically useless.
Most of us can understand that only one working ladder truck in a city of almost 70,000 people might be a safety hazard – but then – we are not fire chiefs or mayors. We are journalists, kind of the voice of those too worried about reprisals to speak out publicly about safety issues.
The new ladder truck will take ten months or more to be built and to be delivered.
Unless Ladder 1 is put back into working order, the city is at a safety risk with only one ladder truck working.
We would suggest that the city purchase a used ladder truck until such time the new ladder truck is delivered to the city.
If the cost is several hundred thousand dollars, it would be money well spent to give backup insurance to the city’s firefighters and to the city’s residents.
If the city can spend $300,000 for Christmas decorations, it can certainly spend $300,000 for a second aerial truck.
Firefighters shouldn’t be made to risk their lives using outdated equipment.
With $30 million a year coming in from Encore, what would it be for the mayor to order the fire chief to purchase a used ladder truck?
If this is accomplished, maybe then our public servants won’t be telling our elected public officials that “we are on borrowed time.”