The Wellesley Fire Department is excited to have a new tower/ladder truck, dubbed the Tower 2, which has been getting its wheels wet on the streets over the past couple of weeks as the department finishes mounting various pieces of equipment and training personnel.
The 95-foot-long Ariel platform truck, according to WFD Chief Rick DeLorie, is expected to service the town for 20 years (tower trucks tend to outlast fire engine/pumper trucks by 5 years).
The new truck is much better suited for serving a municipality’s needs vs. the old one, which was often in need of repairs and was originally designed for airport use, DeLorie says. Among the safety enhancements in the new truck: automatic breaking system/anti-skid; front disk brakes for greater stopping power; emergency brake activation on the passenger side; electronic stability control; heavy duty suspension system; vehicle data recorder; driver and officer have audio and visual warning system of seats occupied/ seatbelts in use; NFPA Emergency lighting systems.
Other features: 10,000 lbs lighter (mostly due to changing from a steel to aluminum ladder); tighter turning radius, easier to move the vehicle around; reduced interior engine noise for personnel hearing safety and health; enhanced emergency lighting meeting Dept. of Transportation guidelines; built-in stretcher brackets for moving patients on the platform from above grade or below grade situations.
The truck can be operated by two firefighters, though additional personnel can be deployed depending on the nature of a call.
According to DeLorie, the truck purchase was coordinated by the Fire Department, Board of Selectmen, Advisory Committee and ultimately, Town Meeting members. The vehicle initially was estimated to cost $925K, but that cost was reduced significantly by $75K trade-in value of the old truck, plus contributions of $100K from Babson and $150K from Wellesley College.
The truck, made b E-ONE in Ocala, Fla., is housed at Station 2, Fire Department headquarters on Rte. 9. The Tower II committee consisted of DeLorie, Deputy Chief Jeff Peterson, Captain Kevin Donahue, firefighter Dana Gerrans and mechanic Bill Miller.
(Thanks to reader JC for calling the new truck to our attention.)