The Whitecourt Fire Department’s service fleet just got a little bigger and more exciting.
Last week, the department welcomed their brand new Pierce Ascendant Aerial Platform engine, Tower 1.
The journey to get the new $1.9 million truck has lasted a long eight years of research, planning, and designing. A need for an aerial platform engine was first identified in the Fire Protection Master Plan back in 2001. In ongoing discussions, it was decided in 2012 that the truck would replace the aging Engine 3, which was scheduled to be replaced in 2014.
The department finally got approval from Town Council in April 2019 to proceed with purchasing the truck. The majority of the funds, $1,273,614, have come from the Fire Department Fleet Replacement Reserve, with the rest, $626,386, coming from the Town’s GST Partnership Reserve.
After almost a year and a half of being built at the Pierce manufacturer, Tower 1 arrived in Whitecourt on Thursday night.
The truck’s aerial ladder can go up to 100 ft high, 93 ft wide, and below-grade by up to 20 degrees. The truck also has the ability to pump water or foam up to 2000 gallons a minute.
Fire Chief Brian Wynn says the aerial truck can be used in a variety of rescue situations because of its aerial and pumping abilities, which will greatly benefit both the town and the county.
Chief Wynn says the aerial truck won’t be added into service for about a month to give the department members time to train and learn how to use it. They will be taking the truck around town as part of their training, and once all members are comfortable it will be added to service in early October. Engine 3 will then come out of service.
Chief Wynn added they are planning to hold a community open house to showcase the truck once it’s in service, with more information coming at a later time.