New ladder truck sought by Oakmont volunteer firefighters
Oakmont Volunteer Fire Department officials want to replace two aging pieces of equipment with a new ladder truck.
Fire Chief Dave Carroll said his current vehicles have proven cumbersome when responding to calls at four-story structures and other larger buildings.
“Right now, we’re kind of outgunned in the borough with some of the newer developments,” he said. “Some of the current structures put us at some type of risk from time to time because you have to allow for a collapse zone as well.”
Carroll also cited proposed four-story storage silos at the Brenntag facility along Allegheny Avenue as another reason to get a new ladder truck with updated equipment.
“Our current truck will not be able to maintain a safe operating distance from these hazardous materials in the event of an incident,” Carroll said.
Plans include selling a 1971 ladder truck and a 1996 pumper to help pay for the estimated $1.4 million price of a new one. It’s unclear how much money the truck sales would generate.
Councilman Tim Favo suggested the department look to partner with mutual aid companies and buy the new truck via a consortium since it may be used by other communities.
Concerns about ownership and maintenance could make that effort problematic, replied Carroll. He said the department also applied for FEMA grants the past five years for a vehicle purchase, but to no avail.
The new vehicle would come with an estimated 100-foot ladder and be able to hold hundreds of gallons of water.
The current truck holds no water and has a 75-foot ladder.
Oakmont Fire Capt. Ray Rogers said the new truck would reduce the need for more manpower when responding to calls.
“When we have an afternoon call we may only have four guys show up, maybe six if we’re lucky,” Rogers said. “We can roll (the new ladder truck) out of the building with four guys and be able to do just about anything we need to.
“The state that it is now, I have to have four guys on a pumper, and should have four guys on my truck before it rolls out the door. … I think it’s a benefit for the community and safety for our firefighters.”
Carroll said two manufacturers were contacted, and it would take at least two years to acquire the new truck. He’s looking for a commitment from the borough to help lease it with the option to buy.
The first payment for the new truck may not be due until 2021.
Council President William Benusa said that vote would have to be taken by a new council.
Benusa, Favo and Councilman George Coulter declined to run for reelection.
Democrats Lindsay Osterhout, Nancy Ride and Sophia Facaros all won four-year seats and Democrat David Brankley won a two-year seat this past election. They will be sworn in in January.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .