HELENA — After a three-day cross-country journey, the Helena Fire Department’s newest emergency vehicle has arrived.
The department’s new ladder truck was delivered to Fire Station 1 around 8 a.m. Friday. A driver brought it over from Pierce Manufacturing, a well-known maker of fire apparatus in Appleton, Wisconsin.
The truck features a 100-foot ladder and elevated platform, as well as a 400-gallon water tank. HFD Assistant Chief Mike Chambers says it gives them important high angles when performing rescues or trying to put out structure fires.
“It can really go out as a first-out apparatus on all incidents,” he said. “My hope is that that’s the case – that this brand-new piece of equipment is seen across town responding to incidents daily.”
HFD ordered the new truck back in April 2021, but leaders said it was delayed by issues like parts shortages. It will operate out of Fire Station Two, on Helena’s east side, replacing a truck that’s 20 years old. Chambers said the other apparatus is still working well, but it’s becoming harder to find parts for it.
Chambers said they were able to customize this vehicle to meet the needs of the community, like using a gearing system designed to handle Helena’s hills.
“These purchases are usually 20 to 25-year purchases, and to be in the position to be able to order this truck and spec it with input from all the staff has been really useful,” he said. “Now we have a piece of equipment that’s going to serve the community for at least another 20 years.”
Chambers said it will take several weeks to get the truck rigged with all the necessary equipment, but they hope to have it ready for service as soon as possible.
Leaders said HFD is paying for the vehicle with help from the 2018 fire levy approved by Helena voters.