South Jacksonville Fire Department Looking at a Repair/Replace Situation with Aging Ladder Truck

By Benjamin Cox on March 11, 2024 at 9:54am

The Village of South Jacksonville Fire Department is exploring ways to replace or repair an aging ladder truck.

Last month, Fire Chief Rich Evans Jr. told the South Jacksonville Board of Trustees the ladder truck, which is the only one in the village fire department’s fleet, had to be taken out of service as a ladder truck because the ladder platform had developed rust and would not pass an inspection.

Evans updated the Village Board of Trustees Thursday night saying he’s still awaiting information and further inspection from the village’s sales representative with the fire truck company they’ve used in the past: “I have talked to our sales rep. He was going to work with their guys to come here to further look at the truck to see if the ladder can be replaced. I am still waiting to hear back from him, and have him come here to inspect that. I don’t have a whole lot of details on it yet, but it is in the works.”

Evans says that the 1993 model truck was purchased for a quarter of a million dollars as a used vehicle in 2012 and has developed an unsafe platform due to rust: “Somehow, someway it appears that water got inside that top section and it started to rust. Every year, the ladder truck and our ground ladders have to be inspected. A company comes in and does that. They noticed this issue and did not want to move any further with testing, because the inspector didn’t feel anybody would be safe on that platform. That’s what we pay the inspector to do. At this moment, the truck can still act as a pumper. It can pump water, but we will not put anybody on the bucket of that thing.”

Evans hopes to have by next month’s meeting more information on either repair or replacement of the ladder truck. Evans says that the fire department has spent about an $100,000 in repairs and maintenance on the truck.

He says that a new ladder truck would cost close to $2 million, which he understands is beyond the village’s budget.