The Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service is replacing one of its two ladder trucks, at a cost of $1.6 million. (File photo)

The Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service is replacing one of its two ladder trucks, at a cost of $1.6 million. (File photo)

Fire department’s new ladder truck will cost Abbotsford $1.6 million

One of two trucks owned by the city must be replaced when it turns 20 years old

The Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service is getting a new ladder truck – and it won’t come cheap.

With one ladder truck set to turn 20 years old in 2022, council signed off on the purchase of a replacement for $1.6 million.

The 20-year lifespan is set by the Fire Underwriters Survey. The city’s adherence to its requirements impacts residents’ premiums for fire insurance, according to the city.

The new single-axle truck will be provided by the Commercial Truck Equipment Corporation for $1.65 million. Only one other company bid on the city’s request for proposal. That bid came in slightly higher, at $1.72 million.

Fire chief Don Beer said a single axle truck will suffice, after councillors noted that a previous single-axle fire truck purchase several years ago had failed to provide the needed hauling capacity.

“These trucks have come a long way,” he said. The single-axle truck is easier to maneuver. And it also doesn’t need a bucket because it comes with a remote control nozzle and thermal imaging.

“The tower truck used to use two firefighters in the bucket and one on the turn table at the bottom of the boom,” Beer said. “Today we can operate it with one firefighter on the bottom of the boom.”

The advances don’t come without a cost. When the fire department purchased a ladder truck in 1997, it cost less than $900,000.

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