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May 27, 2013

Officials set sights on new fire truck

Replacement sought for ailing ladder truck.

Logansport officials are considering the purchase of a ladder truck for the city’s fire department after its current one, nearly 30 years old, continues to fail performance and safety tests.

Ladder 2, one of the Logansport Fire Department’s fire trucks, has failed tests pertaining to its ladder and water-pumping system, according to Fire Chief Mark Strong.

Pump tests consist of observing whether the truck’s pump can maintain a certain amount of PSI for a certain amount of time, while ladder tests reflect the amount of flex that results in the ladder when it is fully extended and whether or not its hydraulics contract.

Ladder 2 has also experienced difficulties with the turning mechanism for the ladder, in that it doesn’t stop rotating when the rotating process is engaged. Because the ladder won’t stop after it starts turning, it could pose a danger toward firefighters on the ladder who may be working near power lines.

Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin estimated about $400,000 has been spent on repairs for the truck.

Strong said the department currently has an agreement with the Cass County Fire District for assistance in light of Ladder 2’s incapacitation.

Joe Buck, Logansport city councilman and chairman of the public safety committee, accompanied LFD staff members to the Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indianapolis last month. After observing exhibitions and meeting with vendors, Buck presented specs on a 2004 ladder truck made by Pierce Manufacturing at a public safety committee meeting last week.

Committee members ended up opting to go with the Pierce Dash 100’ Platform as opposed to a new truck because at $499,000, it’s nearly half the price of a new one.

“A ladder truck is your most expensive piece of equipment and the least used,” Strong said.

Logansport City Council already appropriated $140,000 from the city’s equipment fund toward the purchase of a new ladder truck last November, but lost out on a bid it had pursued. Buck said the fund currently has about $1 million.

“We don’t have a debate on the fact that we need the fire truck,” said Logansport Councilman and public safety committee member Bob Bishop. “The council has already spoke on that, because we appropriated the [$140,000]. Now the question is are they willing to appropriate that much more money, because we’ve stepped up a big notch.”

Logansport City Council will vote on the appropriation at its meeting June 3.

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or mitchell.kirk@pharostribune.com.

2004 Pierce Dash 100-foot Platform

About $499,000

500 HP diesel engine

New 2,000-gallons-per-minute pump

New 150-gallon polypropylene tank

Automatic tire chains

Interior medical cabinet

5,890 engine hours

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