The Ford City Hose Company #1 fire department took delivery of a newer rescue truck. Fire Department President Robert Shaffer explained why a newer truck was needed.
“Our old rescue truck was 22 years old. We started having some minor problems with it, so we decided it was time to look into an upgrade. We found this truck and was able to fund it through our bi-monthly ticket (raffle) that we do and the trade-in on the old rescue.”
The cost of the 2008 International was $99,000. The department put a down payment of $35,000 and received $45,000 for a trade-in of their 1996 Ford L-9000 tri-axle with remaining funds coming from the Ford City Relief Association through a loan.
Assistant Chief Ray Klukan said the truck originally was in service in Myrtle Beach.
“We found this out in Lancaster. A broker bought it, then we saw it on the Internet on his webpage, and felt this is what we wanted. We contacted him and sent pictures out of our old truck to see how much he would give us back. It was a good deal and we went for it. The old truck started nickel-diming us, leaking fluid and things like that.”
Klukan said the new apparatus will be used for vehicle rescue and extrication, in addition to some fire calls.
“We have some tools in here for extrication and getting into a house,” Klukan said.
Shaffer pointed out that the vehicle also has a light tower for night-time work to light up the scene.
Klukan estimated that 90 percent of the calls are for vehicle accidents. He said the rescue truck will not only serve Ford City residents but also Manor, Bethel, Burrell, Cadogan, and North Buffalo townships. He said East Franklin, Manor, and Kittanning townships also have rescue trucks.
Shaffer said various tools are carried in the rescue truck.
“We carry hydraulic tools such as the ‘jaws of life’, metal cutters, ram (bars), basic irons, hand tools, rope, and cribbing (to stabilize a car while medical workers attend to victim before extrication from the vehicle). There is also a 7.5kw generator to operate the hydraulic tools.”
Two volunteers are needed to man the rescue truck. Klukan said the department also has another utility truck that can carry up to five additional crew members to an incident.
Klukan said that both the rescue truck and the squad truck are owned by the fire department and are insured by the department.
“We are insuring this truck ourselves. It’s on the Borough fleet insurance, but if this thing rolled over, it wouldn’t cover it. We insure this truck for $250,000.
Several months ago, the squad truck was transferred from the Borough to the fire department.
“We bought it through Co-Stars, so it has to be titled in the Borough’s name, but we made the payments. When it was paid off, we transferred it into our own name and insure it,” Klukan explained. He said that although it was a 15-year loan, the department was able to pay it off in approximately four years by using funds from several PEMA grants.
Klukan also congratulated Manor Township is the purchase of a mini-pumper.
“Where the big truck can’t go, the mini-pumper can get into it,” he said. Klukan estimated their truck can haul approximately 200 gallons of water to fight “brush fires or car fires – something you want to get a quick knock-down.”
He said that Manor Township also has new battery-operated rescue tools.
Both Shaffer and Klukan emphasized the cooperation that exists between all the fire departments, assisting each other as necessary to protect local residents.
Ford City currently has 25 members and three junior members. Shaffer said that residents wanting to serve as a member can stop by on a Thursday night or call the fire department and leave a message. In addition to submitting an application, a background check is required in addition to a physical examination that is paid for by the Borough.