Richmond Heights Fire Department seeks new ladder truck -

2022-09-24 04:54:41 By : Ms. Termein tdp

Richmond Heights City Council is considering how to pay for a new $1.2 million fire ladder truck.

RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio -- The cost of a fire ladder truck is not cheap. And, as the months go by, it will get even more expensive.

Fire Chief Marc Neumann gave a presentation at Tuesday’s (Sept. 20) City Council Safety Committee meeting, during which he told of the need for the city to purchase a new ladder truck for the department at a cost of just under $1.2 million.

While explaining the need for the new truck, Neumann said the cost for a new Sutphen ladder truck will increase 5 percent by December, then another 5 percent by February. That February cost, Neumann said, will be $1.4 million.

In asking council to act now to buy the new truck, Neumann said: “It will take two years to build (a new truck). It’s a mathematical certainty this truck will be $1.4 million by February. It’s (the cost) going up, and we are not going to want to be in a situation without a ladder truck.”

The current RHFD ladder truck, in two years, will be 25 years of age -- about 10 years past the point that the National Fire Safety Council recommends such a vehicle be retired.

Neumann, however, assured council that the current ladder truck is now in “very good” condition.

An RHFD committee recommended for purchase an Ohio-made Sutphen truck with a 75-foot-tall ladder. Such a truck is a necessity in Richmond Heights because of its many apartment complexes and nursing facilities.

Of those apartment complexes, Neumann said, most are three or four stories high. A couple of buildings at the 444 Park Apartments, 444 Richmond Park Drive, stand six stories high.

Richmond Heights Fire Department's current ladder truck.

Neumann said a 75-foot-tall ladder will, at most, reach the fourth floor.

When Ward 2 Councilman and Safety Committee Chair Frank Lentine asked if 75 feet is enough height for a new ladder truck, Neuman said that mutual aid from other communities, some with taller ladders, would come into play at an apartment fire.

Although each floor measures about 10 feet in height, a ladder truck must park a certain distance from a building in order for the ladder to extend at a proper angle to reach the necessary floors.

Richmond Heights would receive aid from area fire departments in the event of an apartment fire. Highland Heights, for example, has a truck with a 70-foot ladder that has an aerial platform that makes for a more stable base while firefighters perform their duties. And, Neumann added, ”The tallest ladder truck in the state of Ohio is right there in Beachwood, and they’re on our first alarm (to respond with mutual aid), as well.”

The Richmond Heights Fire Department is seeking to purchase a fire ladder truck that would look like this Sutphen model serving in Lebanon, Ohio.

Beachwood, in 2012, purchased for $800,000 a ladder truck that stretches 137 feet into the air.

The truck recommended for Richmond Heights would have a 500-gallon water tank, which is less than the 750-gallon tank on the current ladder truck, but large enough for Richmond Heights’ needs, Neumann said. It would have a 500 horsepower engine.

Neumann told the committee that the best local example of why a ladder truck is needed was the Sept. 21, 2018, fire at the Loganberry Ridge Apartments, 26680 Loganberry Drive, in which one man was killed and five people were injured.

That fire started in a third-floor elevator. It was later ruled a case of arson. The identity of the arsonist was never determined.

In an apartment fire, residents are told to stand on their balconies and wait for firefighters to come and get them. Firefighters are specifically trained to assist people of all ages and sizes down a ladder, and a ladder truck provides the surest base for such a rescue, Neumann said.

Neumann also reminded council that Richmond Heights, when the Belle Oaks Marketplace project is completed at the former Richmond Town Square mall site in the next few years, will gain an additional 700-plus apartment units.

Finance Director Annette Harmon said that it would be best if the city could keep more than $1 million in its capital fund in case of emergency, and thus recommended payment for the new ladder truck over three years, with the city making quarterly payments of $87,000 and a down payment of $190,000.

The city would also sell its current ladder truck for $35,000 to $50,000.

Council, before making a decision, but mindful that the cost will increase in December, chose to further study how payment would be made.

“I think we all understand we need a truck,” Lentine said. “By the time we order it and by the time we get it, it will be needed. We just need to figure how how we’re going to pay for this thing.”

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