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Irwin VFD expecting new ladder truck by end of year

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Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

The Irwin Volunteer Fire Department is expected to take delivery by year's end on a new $700,000 ladder truck that is being built to order.

“We've just learned that the chassis, which took six weeks to build in Michigan, has been completed and transported to be finished in Nebraska,” Chad Mower, the fire company's president, told borough council last week. “So, hopefully, we'll be getting the new truck by no later than the end of the year.”

The truck, which is being financed, is being built by Smeal Fire Apparatus in Snyder, Neb., Mower said.

It will replace a 20-year-old vehicle that recently was sold for about $135,000 through a broker to the Wilder Rural Fire Protection District in Wilder, Idaho, he said.

A payment of $243,652 was wired to Smeal to cover the cost of the vehicle's chassis, Mower said.

Because of the expense of a new truck, some concessions were made on the options that were available.

“We eliminated air conditioning for the cab because it would have cost another $6,000,” Mower said. “And we went with the halogen lighting package because the LEDs cost three times more. It's pretty plain Jane, a workhorse.”

The vehicle is being finished in a gray-over-blue color scheme instead of the blue-over-white design used on the previous ladder truck. And instead of chrome bumpers, it will have gray-painted steel bumpers.

“The logos and lettering on our other vehicles are now gold leaf, so we're kicking around whether to stick with that or go with silver or maybe mother of pearl,” Mower said. “But we have time before we decide on those little details.”

While no grants are available to buy the truck, the department is eligible for a $37,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which will be used to buy new fire hose, and a $13,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to buy equipment to outfit the vehicle, the president said.

Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2360, or at

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