It is shiny, has a new car smell and is full of compartments that the crew from the Lakewood Fire Station next to Aldrich Junior High School had to open.
The apparatus – the city’s newest aerial ladder truck – was delivered to Station 1 across from City Hall yesterday. It is being stationed at Lakewood.
Costing $788,000, the truck replaces an aging Ladder #2 that, after some repairs, will be placed in reserve, said Deputy Fire Chief Bruce Cooney.
Making it all possible is an $854,000 grant from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security through the 2011 Assistance to Firefighters Grant program. The city came up with $170,862 for its match.
Of that amount, $683,451 in federal funds went for the truck. The remaining amount covers the cost of training.
“This is the significant grant the fire department has received this month,” Mayor Scott Avedisian said. “The funding for the ladder truck as well as the nearly $194,000 we received to improve our radio system will go a long way to further assure the continued safety of Warwick residents, the business community and the millions of travelers who fly into Warwick each year.”
But the grants haven’t stopped there.
In recent months, the city also received a $3.1 million federal grant that will pay for the salaries and benefits of 17 additional firefighters for two years.
The mayor credits the fire department’s grant writing committee of Pvt. Scott Jensen, Lt. Jason Erban and Pvt. Christopher Albro with tracking down grants and following through with application submissions. He also thanked Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman Jim Langevin for their support of grant applications.
The new truck has a 137-foot ladder capable of reaching the top of a 7-story building. However, despite its reach, Cooney pointed out access to a building is restricted by its setback from the street. The truck needs to have a solid footing in order to fully extend the ladder.
Fire Chief Edmund Armstrong praised the work of the grant committee and how their work has enabled the city to obtain new equipment so that “the citizens of Warwick are not burdened with the total cost.”
Cooney said a ladder truck should last 18 to 20 years, which is double the estimated life of a pumper truck. He said pumpers are on the road more frequently and, because they carry water, deteriorate faster.
In a statement, Erban of the grant committee is quoted as saying, “This award is a great validation for the work performed over the last few years. Based on the fact that fewer than 25 percent of ladder truck requests are granted across the country, we feel this is a tremendous achievement and will benefit the citizens of Warwick for many years. The ability to have an impact on the safety and well-being of our fellow firefighters far outweighs the hours involved researching, developing and implementing the grant projects.”