Norwalk Fire Dept. has 'great' new truck

Cary Ashby • Jan 30, 2018 at 1:00 PM

The Norwalk Fire Department has a new addition to its fleet.

The 2017 Spartan engine, which cost $436,027, arrived at the station Friday. Representatives from Fire Safety Services, which is based out of Huntsville, delivered it.

Chief John Soisson said there are two things that set the Spartan apart from other possibilities — the cost and the department has a 2001 truck with a Spartan chassis.

“We have been very happy with the performance with that truck,” he added. “When we contacted them, they had four models in production and two that met our criteria.”

Compared to a custom-built engine, Soisson said this one cost $80,000 to $100,000 less.

Also relatively new to the department is a 2004 Pierce Saber, from Florida. Soisson said the $84,500 price tag includes many new items, including the front tires, light package, seats and front brakes.

“They were able to find one that had a really good undercarriage,” the chief added.

With the two trucks costing the city slightly more than $520,000, “that’s a pretty good deal,” Soisson said.

The trucks replace two that were put out of service in late September due to structural concerns. Each vehicle — a 1985 Gruman pumper and a 1994 Freightliner pumper/tanker — failed inspections by the state Highway Patrol that Soisson had requested. Until the fire department received its newest additions, the most recent vehicle was 16 years old.

In the interim, Norwalk borrowed trucks from EHOVE Career Center and the Ashland Fire Department.

The 2017 engine is about two weeks from being in full service. While firefighters earlier used one truck specifically for township fires and another for those in the city, Soisson said the new engine will be the first vehicle to respond to every blaze.

Firefighters, who have placed hoses in the truck, will add mounting brackets.

“There is driver operation that needs to be done,” Soisson said. “We didn’t buy any new equipment for this.”

The truck, which holds 1,000 gallons of water, has two built-in ladder racks.

“Those used to be on the outside of the truck,” Soisson said. “Everything has to be enclosed.”

To the right of the steering wheel is a screen, which is used as a rear camera and a diagram that shows when doors are open or when someone’s seat belt isn’t latched. 

The truck features LED lighting, which is tubular in the storage compartments and uses less energy than other lights.

“There is good back-lighting in here,” Soisson said. “We have much more compartment space and room for hoses.”

The truck uses less electrical power than other engines.

“It’s a tenth of what it used to be,” Capt. Aaron Lynch said. “We were able to put a smaller generator on there because of it.” 

The new vehicle also has air bags, a feature added to fire trucks several years ago, a pump heater.

“We can hold more hose,” Lynch said. “It’s a great truck.”

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