Last Friday afternoon, July 15th, the Lafayette Fire Department received their new 78-foot aerial ladder fire truck, which was welcomed with open arms by Chief Keith Scruggs and his team of firefighters. Also on hand to see the new engine were Senator Mae Beavers, Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, Mayor J.Y. Carter, Chamber of Commerce President Marcus Smith, and several city council members, including former chief Loryn Atwell.

"This has been an 18-month process getting this new Quint fire apparatus,” Chief Scruggs said Monday morning. “We started in December of 2009 working on a disaster recovery grant through HUD that was administered by the Upper Cumberland Development District. My department and our community leaders have many hours of hard work invested in this project, assuring that all the qualifying items were met for this grant.”

“Around December of 2010, we had confirmation that we had been awarded the grant and all equipment including the ladder truck was bid out,” the chief noted. “Shortly there after, the bids were approved and the equipment was ordered.”

This grant was in the amount of $750,000 and the following items were acquired besides the ladder truck: all new turn out gear for the department; a new breathing system, that includes self contained breathing apparatus and fill station for the system; new thermal image camera; six new generators with lighting equipment; two 25-KW emergency back up generators to be located at the Fire Hall and one at the airport; and 22 new repeating devices to be installed on all the city emergency equipment including the fire trucks and police cars.

“This 2011 truck, which was built by Rosenbauer, is a state of the art piece of firefighting equipment that will serve our city for years to come,” said Scruggs. “This truck is able to reach heights of around 78 feet and has a full compliment of ground ladders, a 1500 gallon per minute pump along with its own generator equipment, a full compliment of lighting equipment and it also carries 400 gallons of water.”

Chief Scruggs recently went to South Dakota and inspected the truck at the factory, which is the 3rd truck bought from this company. Rosenbauer is the number two manufacturer of fire equipment in the world and it shows. “This is a very well built piece of equipment that has a lot of high tech aspects for modern day firefighting.”

“A factory representative will be with our department for a week training with the truck and five of my men are already aerial certified and the rest will be receiving their state certification shortly. This is the single most expensive piece of equipment the City of Lafayette has ever purchased,” confirmed the Chief, “and it was free!”

“Also the city of Gallatin graciously donated to us 3,000 feet of large diameter hose for this ladder truck. Once loaded, this engine will be well over a half a million dollars in value to serve the citizens of Lafayette.”