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New Truck Goes To Work In Pleasant Valley


BARKHAMSTED - Having outgrown its first rescue vehicle, which was purchased in 1993, the Pleasant Valley Fire Department recently acquired a new rescue truck that should fulfill its needs for the next 10 to 15 years.

"Our other rescue truck was overweight," said Pleasant Valley Fire Chief Jamie Lagassie.

Even though the vehicle was a five-man cab, Lagassie said he enforced a two-person maximum on the truck in hopes it would not become dangerously overweight.

The new truck is a demo model of a 2006 Marion rescue truck. The cab accommodates a six-person crew and the body is equipped with everything from a four-bottle cascade system to a 12-foot light tower.

With the new truck, weight will not be an issue. Keeping it organized with all of the equipment needed may be a challenge.

Numerous cabinets will house all of the essential rescue equipment firefighters will need for a wide range of calls, from structure fires to hazardous material spills and swift water rescue to motor vehicle extrications.

"We have a truck that we can definitely use and that has the equipment on it," said Lagassie. "It's kind of a service truck because it is the truck that does everything else. It goes to water rescues, haz-mat, pump-outs, CO calls, all the service calls that we do that have nothing to do with fire, plus the structure fire equipment as well."

The fire department originally planned to purchase a custom rescue truck, but after analyzing the costs, a demo truck was determined to be the least expensive avenue.

The truck cost $314,000, with $16,000 in add-on features. The volunteer fire department will need just a few thousand dollars more for simple modifications, such as shelving and brackets, since the unit was purchased as a demo model.

"It's as close as we were going to get to a custom build. It has a good chunk of what we wanted in there," said Lagassie. "It's definitely as close as possible to what we wrote the specs for."

Special attention was paid to ensuring that the rescue truck would be a long-term investment and not just a piece of equipment that met their current needs. Lagassie said with the ever changing range of calls the fire department receives, the department tried to anticipate future needs.

"It's a big truck right now, but in five to 10 years down the road it will be what we need."

Ten years ago the fire department responded to fewer calls than today. Most of the calls the department responds to now are special service calls.

The new rescue truck is expected to be fully operational within the next month. The fire department is planning an open house in the spring to show off their new piece of equipment. Station renovations, needed to accommodate the larger fire truck, should be completed by then as well.

"It's definitely a better situation than with the old rescue truck," said Lagassie.



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