New heights: New ladder fire truck headed to St. Stephen

·2 min read

The Town of St. Stephen has taken the first step toward purchasing its own ladder fire truck.

Mayor Allan MacEachern says the truck, expected to be equipped with a 100-foot-long ladder, is expected to cost between $1.4 and $1.6 million. It'll allow town firefighters to reach up to nine floors, instead of the current three floors its current trucks can reach now.

"It's been a goal of council for a number of years," town CAO Jeff Renaud said of the purchase in an emailed statement.

At a meeting this week, St. Stephen council approved the release of tender, which means the town will place a call out for a single-axle aerial platform truck and competing suppliers will put in bids for the deal. The tender was expected to be placed on the New Brunswick Opportunities Network Thursday, with a deadline for submissions of Jan. 29, 2021.

Depending on the responses to the tender, Renaud said the new truck could be ready for use as soon as the summer or fall of 2021 if a supplier has a truck that meets the town's specifications. However, he said it's unlikely a truck with the exact specifications has already been built, so if one does have to be built, he expects it wouldn't likely be delivered to the town until early 2022.

The town will know the delivery date once it has concluded the tendering process, he said.

The minimum requirements for the new truck were outlined by a committee developed by the fire department and with the help of Don McCabe, Moncton's retired deputy fire chief. Those requirements, including to bumpers, lights, sirens and insulation, are outlined in an 111-page document.

To help with the cost of the truck, St. Stephen council has approved borrowing from the Municipal Capital Borrowing Board of $1,039,000 over a 15-year term and $172,000 over a three-year term.

In July, St. Stephen fire Chief Sean Morton told the Telegraph-Journal the new truck will allow his firefighters to reach greater heights.

“St. Stephen has started getting some larger buildings,” he said at the time. “We have some industrial complexes that are quite large, but we’re also getting more apartment buildings.”

The age of the St. Stephen department's current fleet and desire for less reliance on other fire departments also factored into the motivation for the proposed purchase.

The St. Stephen Fire Department has a mutual service agreement to both offer help and receive assistance from the fire department in Calais, Maine, which has a ladder truck.

All three trucks currently in St. Stephen are pumper trucks. The department also has a rescue truck that carries the jaws of life and an air cylinder.

The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada.

Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal