Could It Have Made A Difference?

By: Kim Bedford Email
By: Kim Bedford Email

Knoxville (WVLT) A fire truck that can reach heights like no other in Knoxville can, wasn't at last Wednesday's fire.

In fact, it hasn't moved in about four months.

Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford has more on that and new details about another truck damaged in the fire.

Falling debris from the fire destroyed ladder truck three.

The city is accepting bids until next week to buy a new truck, which may not be ready until July.

Winning bidders would have to supply a loaner truck until then.

Frustrating news, considering the city's tallest ladder truck is also, at least temporarily out of service.

Mark Kolander, with the City Fleet Services Director says, "chances are that vehicle isn't going to be repaired. It took, the majority of the hit it took from the wall was in the platform area."

Kolander says it would cost the city about 400, 000 dollars to repair ladder three.

"An order went out this morning, actually, to get a second replacement truck going."

The new truck won't arrive until July, but the city says a loaner should come in later next week.

Kolander continues, "it's under control. We've got spares and purchasing is working very quickly to get other replacements for us."

The Knoxville Fire Department says two additional trucks were already on order before last week's fire, but there's another truck that was sitting in the city garage while the McClung warehouses went up in flames.

"It's a 135 foot ladder truck, so it's used to get way up in the air to buildings or windows."

Fire Chief Bob Pressley says there's no way of knowing whether or not Knoxville's tallest ladder truck could've helped high above the warehouses, but it hasn't moved for about four months because of repairs.

Kolander says, "it's had some suspension and also turntable ladder problems. The suspension problem has been fixed. Now we're trying to find the source to get the ladder portion fixed."

Kolander says they're working to get help from the truck's manufacturer in Florida.

"Anytime you run into an aerial device, it takes special training to do any kind of welding repairs. It takes training and certification that the city garages just don't have."

Here's the breakdown of costs of the new fire trucks:

The pumper truck cost 388,815 thousand dollars.

The platform truck was 737,143 thousand dollars.

The city anticipates the truck to replace ladder three will cost around 700, 000 dollars.

That's almost two million dollars of city taxpayer money.

As for the 135 foot ladder truck, repairs will cost between 40,000 and 50,000 dollars, and the city says the manufacturer will pay that bill.


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