Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New engine helps firefighters rise to challenge in Suisun City

New engine helps firefighters rise to challenge in Suisun City
By Ian Thompson | Daily Republic | September 29, 2008

Suisun City firefighter apprentice Alyssa Dennis climbs down the 100-foot ladder on the department's new fire engine during training Monday morning. Photo by Brad Zweerink

SUISUN CITY - It fits inside the Suisun Fire Station, but it remains to be seen whether the department's new ladder engine can maneuver through the cramped streets of Old Town

'We have a lot of training to do,' Fire Chief Mike O'Brien said Monday.

O'Brien welcomes the challenge posed by the department's latest addition, which arrived Saturday. The 48-foot-long Ferrara engine, which has a 100-foot ladder, is the first vehicle purchased by the department since 1999.

With a four-story business hotel under construction in Suisun City, the ladder engine became a necessity for the department. Firefighters will now be able to reach the top of the hotel and also perform rooftop evacuations at other buildings.

'We can move people quicker and it is much safer for the volunteers,' O'Brien said.

The search for a ladder engine began in November 2007, and the department was determined to acquire one by end of this year in time for the hotel's opening.

That hunt led department officials to Ferrara Fire Apparatus of Holden, La., which promised to build a ladder engine well before the department's deadline, O'Brien said.

Meeting the deadline was not a problem for Ferrara, which had already built the cab, chassis and ladder for a ladder engine by the time Suisun City fire officials came calling.

The construction and outfitting of the engine was completed earlier this month, and then it was driven from Louisiana through Texas, Arizona and New Mexico on the way to its new home.

See the complete story at the Daily Republic online.