New ladder truck is bigger, better, safer

'Quint' cost town's taxpayers about $1 million

By Josh Bickford
Posted 9/28/20

The new Barrington Fire Department ladder truck arrived in town this week.

Equipped with a 100-foot aerial ladder (25 feet longer than the existing ladder truck), the new engine also has a larger …

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New ladder truck is bigger, better, safer

'Quint' cost town's taxpayers about $1 million


The new Barrington Fire Department ladder truck arrived in town this week.

Equipped with a 100-foot aerial ladder (25 feet longer than the existing ladder truck), the new engine also has a larger water tank and a series of upgrades designed to keep local firefighters safer on the job.

Barrington Fire Chief Gerald Bessette said the old ladder truck had 18-inch rails on the 75-foot ladder, but the new vehicle offers higher railings.

"You're going to feel pretty safe when you're up there," Chief Bessette said.

"I think they (Barrington firefighters) can do their job better with this apparatus… without question. They can do their job better with this truck. That's why we went out, and Jim backed us on it."

Barrington Town Manager Jim Cunha and members of the town council supported the purchase of the new fire truck, which cost taxpayers about $1,096,908.

"The community will be a lot safer with this new truck. And our firefighters will be a lot safer with this truck," Mr. Cunha said.

More than a year ago, officials discovered the old ladder truck was rusting badly. The chief said he was hoping to run the old ladder truck for a few more years, but a vehicle inspection team recommended that the department replace the ladder truck about two years ahead of schedule.

Chief Bessette brought that news to the town council, which voted 4-0 to purchase the new vehicle.

Better reach

Barrington Fire Department Lt. Nick Tessitore spoke about some of the features offered with new ladder truck. He said it has a 500-gallon water tank, compared the 300-gallon tank on the old ladder truck. And the new truck's 100-foot ladder will offer the fire department better reach.

Lt. Tessitore said that while there are not a lot of 100-foot-tall structures in Barrington, there are many set far off the road.

"With a 100-foot aerial we'll be able to reach those houses. It's the reach," he said, adding that the rear-mounted aerial ladder is constructed of aluminum.

Chief Bessette said the department will also have better access to Atria Bay Spring Village, a senior care facility located in Bay Spring. The old ladder truck had limited reach at that building.

"We couldn't even reach the roof at Atria. With this we can do it," Chief Bessette said.

Built for Barrington

The new ladder truck arrived in town about 45 days later than expected, said Chief Bessette. A schedule has already been compiled for firefighter training on the new vehicle.

"We have a battalion chief who works for Greenwood Fire Apparatus and he'll come and spend at least one day with each shift, train them," Chief Bessette said. "Then it will be driving, driving, driving."

The new ladder truck, equipped with dual rear axles, is about four feet longer than the old truck. And firefighters will need to get acquainted with the longer vehicle. It also rides about four or five inches higher up than the old truck.

Chief Bessette said the new ladder truck was built to the exact specifications offered by the Barrington Fire Department. He said an official from the company that assembled the truck told him that about 1,700 different companies were involved in supplying equipment and parts for this vehicle.

"…it's customized to how Barrington does its job. And that's the way it's designed — the placement of equipment and all those compartments and so forth, and the way we run hose lines…" he said.

The new fire truck comes with a full two-year bumper-to-bumper warranty. There are additional warranties for separate parts of the vehicle. Assembled in Florida, the vehicle was driven to Barrington for its delivery.

"They drive them up, they don't cart them up," said Chief Bessette. "There's got to be 1,400 miles on it. I like that."

The new ladder truck is referred to as a "quint." In addition to the aerial ladder, it also provides ground ladders, a 1,250-gallon-per-minute water pump, a supply hose, and a large water tank. It will be operated by two men on emergency calls.

Request for old ladder truck

Barrington resident Tom "TR" Rimoshytus recently requested that the Barrington Fire Department's old ladder truck be donated to the volunteer fire department in Errol, N.H.

During the September town council meeting, Mr. Rimushytus said the closest ladder truck to Errol is about an hour away. Errol is located in Coos County, north of the White Mountains.

Chief Bessette said he is familiar with Errol and has spoken with the fire chief there.

"It's a well worthy volunteer place," Chief Bessette said. "I've given them a lot of equipment. I know the chief. I personally talked to him about this."

However, Chief Bessette said he intends to list town's old ladder truck on a national auction to see how much money it can fetch.

"It's not my truck," he said, adding that it belongs to the town.

"We're going to put it out to auction and see what the market bears."

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