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New Fire Truck to Improve Safety in Hillsborough
WHAT: Official delivery of Orange Rural Fire Department’s new fire truck
WHEN: 10 a.m. Nov. 22
WHERE: Orange Rural Fire Department’s main station, 206 S. Churton St. in downtown Hillsborough
Come Nov. 22, the Orange Rural Fire Department will have a new weapon against fire: a 95-foot aerial platform ladder truck with a price tag that saves the Town of Hillsborough a quarter of a million dollars.
The department and town will officially receive delivery of the truck at 10 a.m. Nov. 22 at the main fire station, 206 S. Churton St., in downtown Hillsborough. The town contracts for fire service through the private, nonprofit corporation.
The new, standard edition fire truck will cost the town about $754,000 — $250,000 less than similar new trucks thanks to a ladder recycled from a truck in Syracuse, N.Y. Equipment needed for the truck — including a hose, nozzles, air packs, prying tools, scene lights and two-way radios — will cost $58,000.
The truck and ladder are made of aluminum, making the new truck about 15,000 pounds lighter than an equivalent steel model. The lighter, aluminum ladder will do less damage to the truck’s engine; and town streets and parking lots will see less damage from the combined lighter truck and ladder.
“We will have the lowest-priced truck of this kind in the county, and it will provide the same level of service as its more expensive counterparts,” Orange Rural Fire Department Chief Jeff Cabe said.
The new truck will ensure the department is better able to fight fires in Hillsborough, particularly in the town’s newest buildings. The truck’s taller ladder and greater extension will enable firefighters to spray water onto fires from above, better fighting fires by ensuring more water reaches a fire’s center. Due to Durham Tech’s immediate surroundings, the ladder on the department’s 75-foot aerial truck cannot reach the top of the two-story community college in the Waterstone development.
The current truck has a 75-foot reach. Achieving the highest extension would require placing the truck’s back end directly against a building on fire. For protection, the trucks must be placed at a distance from buildings, with a greater distance likely needed for newer buildings that are surrounded by sidewalks, green setbacks and parking lots.
Hillsborough will use $600,000 in fire capital contributions from the Waterstone development to help pay for the new truck as the development’s larger, taller buildings — including a planned UNC hospital — contributed to the Fire Department’s need for a truck with a taller ladder. The contributions — of which the town has received $400,000 — were negotiated as part of the town’s approval for the 330-acre, mixed-use development by Interstate 40. The funds help pay for Waterstone’s impact on fire protection.
The Fire Department’s current aerial truck is a 1987 model made by a company no longer operating. Finding parts to maintain the truck increasingly has become difficult, with Orange Rural often relying on Deputy Chief Mac Cabe to find and modify similar parts for use on the truck.
“The ladder is the part that never really wears out,” said Chief Cabe, who is the deputy chief’s brother. He noted the department has been assured the same warranty and quality for the refurbished ladder as a new ladder.
The department’s new truck was made by Sutphen Corp., a family-owned business since 1890 that is recognized throughout the United States as a premier ladder truck company. The trucks have proven themselves in North Carolina’s climate with a number of them used in departments outside of Orange County, including Durham and Winston-Salem.
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