‘It's just to allow us to get to places we can't with the ladders we had before'
VALLEY - It's big, red, glistens in the sun and has all the bells and whistles ... literally.
© Matthew Veno - Truro Daily News
Valley-Kempton Volunteer Fire Brigade received its new ladder truck Wednesday. The 37.5-tonne vehicle, which features a 101-foot aerial platform, will enable Colchester County firefighters to be much more effective in fighting fires. With the new machine are, from left, firefighters Jay Leadbetter, Brian DeLong, chief Nigel Leggett, Robert Pryor, Tom Pearson, deputy chief Glen MacAulay and Aaron Morse.
But the numbers surrounding the Valley-Kemptown Volunteer Fire Brigade's new ladder truck, which was delivered Wednesday, are what impresses the most.
"Absolutely," Chief Nigel Leggett said when asked if it was an exciting day for the brigade. "This is the culmination of five years of work overall between our hall expansion, our tanker and three years of planning to build this thing to get to where we are today. It's been a lot of work, it's been a big team effort."
The figure that jumps out initially is the $922,000 price tag.
But the rest of the figures are equally as impressive when you take a closer look. The brigade's 12-member truck planning committee held 47 meetings during the past three-and-a-half years, exchanging hundreds of emails and phone calls to have the truck built. Several members even made three trips to the Rosenbauer assembly plant in Lyons, SD., to follow the truck's progress.
The 47-foot long, 12-foot high behemoth weighs in at 37.5 tonnes, features a six-man cab, 1,500 gallon-per-minute pump and can carry 500 gallons of water.
But its most stunning feature is that 101-foot aerial platform, which can rotate 360 degrees, rest just inches from the ground for easy access and stand up to 70 degrees vertical.
"You're only limited by your imagination and training and experience," Leggett said. "It's just to allow us to get to places we can't with the ladders we had before. We have a lot of higher and steeper roofs in a lot of subdivisions around Valley now. Our typical ladder is 16 feet long and most roofs are 20 to 24 feet from the peak to the eave, so it should make our lives easier in some circumstances."
The brigade held an open house at their hall Wednesday for the public to meet the newest recruit and have a look at the rest of their fleet.
Funding for the truck was raised through the brigade's area rate, which is 11 cents per dollar of assessment.
Although Leggett said he's proud Valley-Kemptown is the only volunteer brigade in Colchester County to have a ladder truck - Truro Fire Service also has one - he said the truck will assist everyone.
"That's the reason we bought it," Leggett said. "The last two big fires in Stewiacke, they took Truro's aerial for one and it's the only other one in the county, so if that was down there is no other one. Hopefully people will engage it. It's a piece of mutual aid equipment for the county."
Leggett said he felt the truck was needed.
"Some people may argue that point but as the houses get bigger, our ability to work off the ground diminishes and we have structures like the balefill, schools, churches, Harris (Home Hardware), Wilson Equipment, the saw mill."
But for all those fancy gadgets and technological capabilities, deputy chief Glen MacAulay said it all comes down to the men using it that makes the difference.
"It's a big commitment for our members to take this on," he said. "It's a whole other level of training they'll have to commit to and be on top of along with everything else they've already done. Without our people it wouldn't be possible."
On Twitter: @tdnmatt