Paul Roovers, second from left, instructs Albany firefighters on technical aspects of the new fire truck’s “bucket” or platform. With Roovers are, from left David Senn, apparatus operating engineer, training captain, Eugene Anderson; Capt. Billy Davis; Joe Castro, master mechanic, City of Albany, and Lt. Joey Thompson.
ALBANY, Ga. — What real firefighter wouldn’t want a brand-new shiny red fire engine — especially one with a high-tech bucket platform and a ten-story reach. It turns out, too, that the new addition is a good way to save lives and property and keep insurance rates down, fire officials say.
Firefighters gathered at their training center at 115 Honeysuckle Drive recently, listening intently to Paul Roovers talk about the state-of-the-art vehicle. Roovers works for the Pierce Company of Appleton Wis., which manufactured the new engine.
According to Eugene Anderson, training captain with the Albany Fire Department, the new aerial or “ladder” truck was purchased by the city with SPLOST funds and is really something of a “deal.” Anderson said the total bill of just under $1 million is almost as low as for the department’s older, less advanced aerial truck, purchased around eight years ago. That’s because the new truck was included with a much larger fire apparatus packaged purchased by the state of Florida.
“It’s almost like buying from Sam’s or Costco,” Anderson said.
One of the more impressive features is the ladder. Anderson says this one will extend its computer-operated platform or “bucket” to a maximum of 100 feet, about the height of a modern 10-story building.
“Of course, Albany doesn’t have a lot of tall buildings,” Anderson said, “but the important thing is reach. There are times we might have a fire at a manufacturing or industrial building or even at the mall, where we can’t get as close as we’d like. This new equipment could make it easier to get to those buildings.”
According to Anderson, the computerized ladder can be quickly angled all the way to the ground, and when set up properly can make a complete 360 degree turn.
While it arrives on the scene with up to 300 gallons of water in its tanks, it can be easily hooked to a hydrant to apply water through piping in its ladder.
“Some of the older ladder trucks required portable piping be attached and run up the ladder,” Anderson said. “That was time-consuming.”
While the new aerial truck is intended to serve all of Dougherty County — especially the western segments — it will be housed at the Meredyth Drive station house, Anderson said.