Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sun Valley unveils new ladder truck

City touts new firefighting vehicle as big improvement over old one

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley Assistant Fire Chief Charlie Butterfield, left, and Fire Chief Ray Franco demonstrate the features of the city’s new ladder fire truck Friday at the Elkhorn Fire Station. Photo by Willy Cook

The Sun Valley Fire Department displayed its new ladder fire truck to the public on Friday, highlighting the benefits of the new apparatus over the old one it has shared with the city of Ketchum.
    “I feel much better about our Fire Department going into the future,” Sun Valley Mayor Dewayne Briscoe said during the event at the Elkhorn Fire Station. “There are so many new safety features, and it’s a great relief and satisfaction to see this new piece of equipment.”
    The ceremony included what Sun Valley Fire Chief Ray Franco said was an old fire department tradition of taking the water out of the old truck and transferring it into the new one.
    The main feature of the truck is a powered ladder that reaches 100 feet above the ground. In addition, the truck has 500 horsepower, LED lights and has a much quieter cab, according to Franco. The truck will also be able to generate water to fight fires much quicker, as it contains a 2,000-gallon-per-minute water pump.
    Franco said the new fire truck has an anti-lock braking system, whereas he could often smell the brakes of the old fire truck. He said the heavily computerized system of the new truck will make it much more easy to use for the city’s firefighters.
    “As long as the truck is lit, we will have power on it constantly,” Franco said. “To work around it is just so much better. The difference is just night and day. It’s user-friendly—it’s fairly simple to set up.”

“To work around it is just so much better.
The difference is just night and day.”

Ray Franco
Sun Valley fire chief

   The cities of Sun Valley and Ketchum shared the old ladder truck through an operating agreement. As of now, the city of Sun Valley is the sole leaseholder of the new truck, but Briscoe said the lease is written to allow Ketchum to add its name at any time.
“We’ve had discussions about Ketchum being put on the lease,” Briscoe said. “I think this demonstration shows that replacing the truck was necessary.”
Ketchum leaders have said in recent months that they believe the old truck can still provide safe, effective service to its citizens.
    Briscoe said the first payment for the truck is due in the fall. If Ketchum decides to pay for a portion of the truck, it has the option of sharing payments with Sun Valley, or alternating annual payments between cities. The city of Sun Valley will owe Pierce Manufacturing $112,425 per year as part of the 10-year lease.

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