The towering ladder — illuminated by blue LED lighting — was visible for several blocks surrounding the Hays fire station Thursday evening, attracting the attention of passers-by.
Hays Fire Department recently purchased a new dual purpose pumper-ladder truck, and city commissioners and staff members were invited to view the massive vehicle. The new truck, manufactured in 2016, offers many benefits, such as built-in headsets and higher efficiency.
It also is narrower and easier to maneuver, which is beneficial for crowded streets and cul-de-sacs, said Lt. Tyler Brungardt with the Hays Police Department.
“With today’s road construction the way it is and cul-de-sacs, things are getting more narrow. … People are parked on both sides of the road, but we can still get access,” he said.
Its more manageable size also could help firefighters deploy more quickly.
The ladder stretches 78 feet into the air, and is lighted to help ensure firefighters can climb safely after dark.
The truck has a 1,500 gallon capacity for streaming water and can hold 300 gallons on the truck, which could help provide an immediate response until a hydrant can be secured, he said.
There also are lighted storage compartments along both sides of the shiny red truck, holding a variety of supplies that could prove life-saving in an emergency. Brungardt noted firefighters respond to many situations, including rescues, vehicle accidents and sometimes medical calls.
“For any kind of scenario, we try to make sure we have the tools to do it,” he said.
The truck cost a bit more than $600,000 and the purchase was approved by the city commission in June. It replaces a 2002 model, which was sold to help offset the cost.
Brungardt said the new truck also includes features that make it easier for firefighters to communicate with each other and dispatch while en route to an emergency. The cab has room for six firefighters.
“Besides from the fact that it looks sharp, I really like the quiet cab,” Brungardt said. “The old trucks, they sit right over the engine so it makes it hard to communicate with the driver. This one we have built-in headsets so we can also communicate to each other over those headsets.
“I like to talk to the guys when we’re en route to an emergency scene and just start prepping ahead of time.”