New Bedford Fire Department Getting Two New Fire Trucks
Two new pieces of fire apparatus are under construction and will replace New Bedford's aging Ladder 1 and Engine 8, which had been destined for mothballs not that long ago.
Ladder 1 is stationed in downtown New Bedford while Engine 8 is housed on Acushnet Avenue, in the Near North End.
The New Bedford City Council approved a roughly $2 million bond order to pay for the new vehicles. Pierce Manufacturing, Inc. of Appleton, Wisconsin, is building the ladder truck, while E-ONE, with offices in Ocala, Florida, and Hamburg, New York, is constructing the engine truck.
"The most significant investment a local government can make in its fire department, other than its personnel, is the procurement of new, modern firefighting apparatus," New Bedford Fire Chief Scott Kruger said.
"While the existing Engine 8 and Ladder 1 have served the department and the city well, they are reaching the end of their time as frontline apparatus," Kruger said.
He said the existing Ladder 1 and Engine 8 will revert to "their new role as reliable reserve apparatus" once the new pieces arrive.
Kruger said the new apparatus "will be equipped with new firefighting and rescue equipment."
New Bedford Firefighters IAFF Local 841 President Billy Sylvia hopes the existing trucks "hang on" until the new ones arrive sometime next year. Sylvia said the department still has "limited reserve trucks that are older and are in need of repair." He said the quint that the city purchased for a quarter of a million dollars "is the only ladder reserve and doesn't fit in all the stations, including downtown."
Sylvia said when the city takes possession of the new vehicles, "the frontline apparatus will all be newer and modern."
"It doesn't replace the need for a fully staffed department that is properly trained," Sylvia said. "New equipment is always needed and great, but the members on the trucks do the grunt work to put out fires and provide aid to the public."
"The trucks also need to be properly maintained, and a functional, safe reserve fleet is still needed," Sylvia said.