WATSONVILLE—Watsonville Fire Department got its newest addition Monday, a 60-foot ladder truck that will replace an older model, and serve as the department’s “first-out” truck.
The $1.3 million purchase came thanks to Measure G, the half-cent sales tax measure approved by voters in 2014 to help fund the city’s police and fire departments.
“We’re grateful to the citizens of Watsonville for supporting Measure G,” WFD Chief Rudy Lopez said.
The purchase will now allow WFD to replace one of its aging trucks, Lopez said.
“We didn’t have the means to replace them until the Measure G came along,” he said.
City leaders hope this purchase – and the fact that the measure has allowed both departments to fill their rosters with new hires – will help convince voters to support the tax when it returns to the ballot for a special election in March.
Engineer Matt Sanchez, who was part of the three-person team assigned with inspecting the truck during its one-and-a-half-year custom build process, said that the 100-foot aerial ladder will cover all of the department’s firefighting needs, allowing for spraying water longer distances and from higher angles.
In addition, the trucks seeming ungainly shape – so long it requires an extra driver in the rear – is more maneuverable than a platform truck, Sanchez said.
Once firefighters fill it with equipment, the truck will be a “rolling toolbox,” carrying all the equipment needed for the incidents firefighters encounter, Sanchez said.
The truck will replace one of the department’s older ones, which is nearly 20 years old. Fire departments typically want to replace their engines and trucks after 15 years, Lopez said.