NORTH ROYALTON – The fire department welcomed a new addition to the firehouse last week.

The brand new firetruck, Ladder 1, rolled into town May 24.

The truck replaces the inoperable ladder truck built in 1995 that’s been parked the past several months. The city has an agreement with mutual aid partners and a contingency in place should a ladder truck or additional trucks be necessary in an emergency until the new truck is road ready.

The new truck won’t hit the streets just yet.

The station must install the communication system and load it with necessary equipment it will carry. Training is an integral part too. Firemen will spend four weeks learning basic orientation; driver training; aerial operation; the cab and chassis; and foam, engine and pump training. There’s a proficiency test afterward to ensure the firemen are thoroughly prepped.

It’s anticipated the truck will be road ready mid-July.

Fire Chief Bob Chegan said this is the culmination of a great deal of planning and effort.

“This is two and half years, hundreds of hours put in by not only myself but our committee, especially firemen Erik Funfgeld and Joe Wilkes who really put the extensive, detailed work into the specifications of the trucks: the design, the design specs and everything that goes into it, especially when we get into where the equipment goes and even the mounting,” he said.

The ladder truck will soon be joined by a brand new rescue engine also, expected to arrive any day. It will be road worthy during the same time frame.

“We don’t do this very often, so we want to make sure they perfect our interests and operations, keep us up to date with everything we put on the trucks and keep our guys safe, that there is a comfort level it will do everything we need it to do,” Chegan said.

It truly is an exciting time for the firehouse.

“The vehicles being replaced are 22 years old, so it’s been a long time. It’s pretty exciting to get really good equipment specifically designed for the needs of our city,” Assistant Fire Chief Tom Habak said. “There’s nothing like new firetruck smell.”

Both were ordered in December 2015. The ladder truck costs $949,765 with interest and is being leased to own with payments totaling $107,813 annually over a 10-year period. The rescue engine was paid in full at a cost of $586,815. Both were funded through the Fire Capital Reserve Fund, fed by EMS billing generated from emergency runs.

The trade-in value for the rescue engine was $15,000.

Chegan looked into repairs to increase the trade-in value of the ladder truck but determined it was not cost effective. This vehicle’s trade-in value is just $5,000. The city is considering selling it on, a website designed specifically for governmental bodies as a way to sell unwanted equipment.

In addition to the new trucks, the fire department’s fleet currently consists of a fire engine and four ambulances – three frontline and one reserve.

Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw, council’s safety committee vice chairman, was glad to hear the truck had arrived.

“It is good news to hear the fire department’s new ladder truck has finally arrived given in recent years how essential it has been in putting out large, structural fires and even rescuing folks like it did with fires in recent years like Spruce Run Apartments,” he said. “Most importantly this truck ensures that we continue to maintain the highest levels of safety for our residents while giving our firefighters the most up-to-date equipment to accomplish that.”

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