ELMA — Fire District 5 is getting closer to having a ladder truck at its disposal.
Ladder Truck 5121 was donated to the fire district last year by a Tacoma business, but is still in need of repairs and refurbishment before it can be mobilized.
Fire District 5 recently received a $4,000 donation from Grays Harbor Energy LLC toward that end. In addition to wanting to help out the fire district that responds to its plant location, company officials hope this will motivate other area businesses to donate toward the ladder truck.
Even though many hours of labor from volunteers and District 5 staff have been done to get things repaired or replaced on the truck, some things just have to go up to a certified shop and the extra funds just have not been there, according to District 5 Chief Dan Prater.
“I would also like to say that this isn’t the first time Grays Harbor Energy has helped,” Prater stated. “They also made two $20,000 truck payments on our Stephan fire engine during the time when the district was in financial hardship. They have been outstanding supporters of the fire district and we appreciate all the help they have done and continue to do for us in our mission to provide the best level of emergency services to everyone in East Grays Harbor that we can.”
Prater said the district needs another $10,000 to $15,000 in donations to get the truck repaired and certified for use.
Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc., which operates a metals recycling yard out of the Port of Tacoma, donated the 1983 Pierce Dash ladder truck to Fire District 5. District 5 volunteer captain Chad Thomas, who works for Schnitzer Steel, helped facilitate the donation. The Tacoma Schnitzer operation had a fire brigade and purchased the truck five years ago from Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue.
The truck — with its 75-foot ladder — will help keep firefighters from risking their lives on roofs during raging structure fires, Prater noted. And in the case of chimney fires, they won’t be going on roofs at all, he added.
“An aerial device is huge for our agency,” Prater said last year. “A brand-new aerial (truck) runs you half a million to a million bucks. It’s a unique piece of apparatus with the nearest (other) one to us is in Montesano.”
The vehicle also has a 750-gallon water tank, a 2003 Waterouse 1,500 gallon-per-minute pump and scene lights and is pre-plumbed for a generator. It has a Detroit 6v-92 engine with about 30,000 miles.
District officials also pointed out that the apparatus could even help lower insurance premiums for the district’s property owners.