Boulder firefighters gathered at the city's fleet services yard in East Boulder on Wednesday and outfitted the department's new $1.2 million ladder truck.
The truck, an "aerial ladder platform," features a basket at the end of its 100-foot extendable ladder capable of safely holding four people. It is replacing an 11-year-old ladder platform truck that formerly bore the name "Boulder FD Ladder 2516," officials said.
"One of the reasons we like this truck is its 100-foot reach, but more importantly it allows us to set up farther away from a structure and still reach up fairly high," Fire Battalion Chief David Gelderloos said. "We can reach a sixth floor window from 75 to 80 feet away."
The truck will be based at Boulder Fire Station No. 1, 2441 13th St., and will compliment the city's other ladder trucks, a 55-footer and a 75-footer, neither of which have baskets, Gelderloos said.
Fire department officials on Wednesday transferred equipment from the old truck, included hoses, nozzles and day-to day medical equipment used by firefighters. The new truck also will be equipped with extrication tools and other gear the older truck did not carry, Gelderloos said.
Fire Engineer Dave Richter took groups of people up in the truck's basket to the top of its 100-foot reach to demonstrate some of the technology at firefighters' fingertips from within the basket. A control panel shows how many gallons per-minute the truck's hose is pumping, how much air is left in the truck's tank, the angle at which the truck's ladder is leaning, the weight the basket is supporting and other valuable information.
"This is all state of the art," Richter said. "(The old truck) didn't have all these read outs."
Dave Martinez, an engineer at Station No. 1 who will be driving and operating the truck, said the features he is happiest about involve driving safety and maneuverability.
With an independent front suspension, the truck offers a much smoother ride and a tighter turning radius than its older counterpart, Martinez said. It also features: All new LED lights, which draw less power; the engine meets new energy standards and is far cleaner burning; and the truck is outfitted with airbags and side-roll protection for the firefighters riding in it.
The old truck was becoming less reliable and was costing more and more in repairs each year, officials said. It is in operational condition, Gelderloos said, and was traded in for $200,000. He said he expects it will eventually be resold to another fire department out of state.