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Fire department acquires new ladder truck

West Fargo Fire Chief Roy Schatschneider outlines the features of a newly aquired ladder truck to community leaders and press Thursday at the West Fargo Fire Department. Jamie Grant/West Fargo Pioneer1 / 3
Mayor Rich Mattern and Commissioner Mark Simmons accompany Fire Chief Roy Schatschneider during a demonstration of the newly purchased ladder truck. Jamie Grant/West Fargo Pioneer2 / 3
Attendees are reflected in the hub cap of the new Sutphen 95-foot aerial ladder truck. Jamie Grant/West Fargo Pioneer3 / 3

The West Fargo Fire Department has a new weapon in its firefighting arsenal with the addition of a brand new 95-foot aerial ladder truck complete with hoist platform.

The newest member of the vehicle fleet was unveiled last Thursday at the 106 1st St. W. location by West Fargo Fire Chief Roy Schatschneider who said he is anticipating the truck "will be in service for many, many years to come."

Members of the vehicle committee making the selection included Schatschneider, lead Fire Inspection Officer Dell Sprecher, Asst. Chief Joe Tintes, Captain Chris Rolph and Engineer Tim Clark.

The group had their first formal meeting in January of this year and visited three other plants that manufacture ladder trucks before visiting the Sutphen plant in Columbus, Ohio, in May. They ordered the truck in mid-June for the July delivery date.

Schatschneider noted that everything on the truck is totally customized to fit the departments wants and needs.

When the local committee made their first inquiry, they were told about a "reharvest program" which involved refurbishing a 1991 truck from the ground up adding a new chassis, with the end result a brand new warranty.

Schatschneider said, "When we visited the factory they had started work on the truck and were moving along quickly. It had everything on it that we wanted so we decided to go with it. We were able to switch the color from red to yellow which correlates with our other equipment, so we were thankful to the people for giving us that opportunity."

The truck will seat up to six firefighters in the cab.

In addition to the ladder and hoist, the truck is also equipped with a variety of other extension and roof ladders; several storage areas for additional equipment and hoses; and control panels for pumping water as well as a control panel with a jack system to stabilize the truck.

Cost of the truck was $808,000 with $150,000 shaved from that price tag thanks to the reharvest program. The truck was funded though the department's equipment program, which had been accumulating for this express purpose for a number of years.

Several West Fargo officials, staff and other members of the community were present for the occasion including West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern, Commissioners Duane Hanson and Mark Simmons, and Assistant Police Chief Mike Reitan.

Some had the opportunity to test the hoist firsthand via demo rides providing an elevated view of the First Street area.

Commenting after the formal presentation, Commissioner Hanson said, "It is really great for a city of our size to have something like this. We have a first-class fire department and our community is very lucky."