You may have seen Lebanon firefighters training on it, testing out all the bells and whistles on their new $867,000 ladder truck.
It’s hard to miss, especially since it’s been parked outside of the fire station and not inside.
It doesn’t fit inside either firehouse. Taxpayers had concerns and came to WLWT for answers.
Lebanon city manager Pat Clements said the problems starts with Ladder 41, the 1992 Seagrave ladder truck the department had been using.
“Due to significant mechanical failure, we had to take it out of service a few weeks ago,” Clements said. “It was important for us to get a new ladder truck deployed as rapidly as possible for public safety purposes. It was important for us to keep a ladder truck operational and respond to emergencies.”
According to documents obtained by WLWT, on Aug. 3, Clements issued an emergency order to buy the new apparatus from Pierce Manufacturing. The cost was $867,742.
Since it was a demo truck, it would be available almost immediately.
“We knew it was not going to fit into the station houses,” Clements said. “It would’ve been possible for the city to purchase a ladder truck that is of lower height that can fit in to the existing bays. However, those trucks are not configured in the manner that the fire department would like.”
Both Station 41 in downtown Lebanon and Station 42 on Route 48 were converted into firehouses from previous uses. The bay doors are not tall enough to fit standard height ladder trucks.
“It was important for us to get the right piece of equipment and let the equipment drive the size of the bay, not the other way around,” Clements said.
The fix was not as complicated as it may seem.
Clements showed WLWT plans that were already in the works to add additional tall doors on the back of Station 41 to allow for a drive-through. Right now, trucks must be backed in.
Those renovations are now being expedited, and one front bay will be modified to fit the new truck.
“We had intended initially to delay the work on the front bay door and separate the cost and spread those costs out over a longer period of time because the old ladder truck would fit in to that structure, in to that building. But because that truck is no longer in service, and we had to rapidly deploy a new one, we added the front bay door to the ongoing design of the station house,” Clements said.
He said he expects the renovations to be finished by January.
In the meantime, the new Ladder 41 will be stationed at the electric compound and will be deployed from there.