Members of the Reading Fire Department gathered at the Plum & Franklin fire station Thursday afternoon to welcome the latest addition to their fleet, a new Tower Ladder truck.
Featuring a 93 foot Tower Ladder, the truck was initially ordered two and a half years ago, originally set to be delivered October 2021, but due to supply chain issues, the delivery was delayed until now.
The new truck will eventually replace the current Tower 1, which has been in service since 2003, and has a 75 foot Tower Ladder. The truck itself, including equipment costs just under 1.7 million.
“The concept of the Tower Ladder truck has been an asset to our city. The fact that this is a 93 footer, compared to the 75 footer gives us a little more usefulness” said Fire Chief James Stoudt Jr.
Built by Spartan Ladder Tower in Ephrata, from start to finish, it took about a year and a half to build the truck. “Our goal is by the beginning of October, it will be in service and the remaining Tower Ladder truck will be rebranded as our second Tower Ladder and be used as a reserve, which replaces an older reserve aerial. We rotate them through in that order” said Stoudt.
The purpose of a Tower Ladder truck is to provide an aerial platform for firefighters, in addition to assist with rescues and carry a wide variety of equipment needed on-scene at a fire.
“It means a lot to the station, especially the eight men who are assigned to it on a permanent basis, [they] had a lot of input into it as far as tool layout and more. We added the Reading Hose Fire Company department patch as an ode to the old firefighters. It’s little things like that that give us not only company pride, but department pride.”
In closing, Stoudt added, “I want to thank the Mayor, City Council, Managing Director, Finance Director, everyone involved in the purchase and delivery of this truck. It means a lot to myself as the Chief of the department, but also the members knowing that we have the support and backing the Mayor, Council and everyone that was involved in purchasing the truck.”