Danville Fire Department gets new, more capable ladder truck

New truck has rear wheels that turn, 107 ft. ladder

DANVILLE, Va. – The Danville Fire Department's new ladder truck costs just shy of $1 million and may not look much different than the fire department's current ladder truck, but there are actually a lot of differences.

Perhaps most importantly, the way the new truck can turn.

"This truck is going to allow us to go around in tight spaces," Danville Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Jefferson said.

Jefferson said the truck has what is known as rear steering, meaning the rear wheels turn.

"Everybody who's driven it, including myself, says it drives like a big car," Jefferson said.

The other major difference between the new truck and the current truck is the length of the ladder.

The current ladder truck has a 75-foot ladder. The new ladder truck has a 107-foot ladder.

Each floor in a commercial building is typically 10 feet tall, which means the new ladder truck will allow the fire department to reach about three floors higher than it can with the current ladder truck.

"With the city building the River District up and with all the loft apartments, this is going to be a vital piece of equipment if we ever have a fire there," Jefferson said.

Danville Firefighter Tony Mills has been with the department for 14 years and is looking forward to training on the new truck.

"This is the first truck we've had with the rear steer, so that's going to be different; getting the feel of how that handles," Mills said. "It's excellent to have a fire department that sees what you need and then goes out there and tries to get you the tools to get the job done."

Now that the ladder truck has been purchased, Jefferson said the hope is to purchase a new engine truck next year.

The goal is to have the new ladder truck in service by the first of December.

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