Champaign's newest fire truck to be in use later this month

Champaign's newest fire truck to be in use later this month

CHAMPAIGN – City firefighters have a new toy to play with.

It's 47 feet long, weighs 68,000 pounds and can flow 2,000 gallons of water per minute.

"That's a lot of water for big fires," said Deputy Fire Chief Eric Mitchell.

The new $930,718 fire truck arrived in Champaign this week from Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton, Wis., and should be in service by Sept. 24.

In the meantime, firefighters are equipping the new truck with fire apparatus from the old – and showing it off a bit.

"Everybody's very excited," Mitchell said.

The truck was paid for by the city's vehicle replacement fund, an account set aside for the purpose. The city buys a new fire truck every 12 years or so, Mitchell said.

The new truck will replace a 1998 vehicle on the front line. That 1998 truck will be reassigned as a reserve truck to replace a 1988 vehicle.

A 100-foot platform ladder (which has a bucket on the end) will give the department more versatility in rescue efforts, Mitchell said. Other front-line trucks right now only have ladders with no bucket.

Mitchell said a factory representative will be in Champaign between Sept. 21 and 23 to train firefighters on some of the truck's safety procedures: for example, how to secure the ladder if the truck's hydraulic system were to fail.

Some residents may have already seen the truck being driven around town, Mitchell said, but it will also be on display today during a 5 p.m. ceremony outside Memorial Stadium to memorialize the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Firefighters will also bring it to a city council meeting on Sept. 14 for city officials and others to see.

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