95 feet may be a whole lot of ladder, but the City of Grand Rapids counts itself lucky to have a 95’ Aerial Platform Ladder in its fleet.
This large ladder truck gets far more use than you’d suppose. In fact, it’s the second truck out on every in-town fire call. “This truck makes it safer for everyone involved,” explained Second Assistant Fire Chief Mike Liebel. That means safety for the firefighters, safety for the citizens, and safety for adjacent properties.
Liebel went on to explain that the ladder on the engine extends far enough that the truck can be placed at the corner of the building, which is the most structurally sound location. This allows firefighters to fight the fire on two sides and park far enough away to be out of a collapse zone. The lengthy ladder also means that firefighters can get a visual from above. The aerial view is important to fight fires since “it tells us the integrity of buildings and roofs,” said Liebel.
When it came time to replace the old aerial truck, the Grand Rapids Fire Department put together a committee of five firefighters to research and create an engine that best fit the needs of Grand Rapids. Those features include more than just the ladder itself, “the amount of water it can pump is astronomical – 2,000 gallons per minute,” said Liebel. And the basket on the ladder means that it can take firefighters straight to the point of egress, making rescues even easier. But even with a ladder this size, it can still be difficult to reach areas of three story building or large two story buildings like the TimberLake Lodge.
The City of Grand Rapids has the only ladder truck in Itasca County. Thanks to mutual aid agreements, this allows us to support our neighbors while taking advantage of their specialized equipment in times of emergency.
“I believe that if this truck saves a life, it’s paid for itself,” finished Liebel.