North Routt fire department adds ladder truck to fleet |

North Routt fire department adds ladder truck to fleet

The 1985 ladder truck that the North Routt Fire Protection District recently inherited is shown at the Shadow Run fire in April 1987.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — One local fire department is helping another with the donation of a truck equipped with a 75-foot ladder.

Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue decided it was time for an upgrade, but the department in North Routt County thought the 1985 Sutphen Ladder Truck still had some life left.

"It's something we could never have afforded to purchase outright, but being offered as a donation/gift, we could not see letting it pass us by," North Routt Chief Mike Swinsick said.

North Routt will not just use the ladder truck for rescuing cats stuck in trees.

Swinsick said, these days, the North Routt district has a lot of taller buildings, and they will be able to access chimney fires and roofs they were not previously able to reach with their 24-foot ladders.

"It will give us additional pumping capacity once we have it back in full service," Swinsick said. "We also can use it to better train our firefighters and new recruits on all types of ladder use for rescues, ventilation and fighting fires with aerial appliances."

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Steamboat Deputy Fire Chief Chuck Cerasoli said it was time for Steamboat to retire the ladder truck. His department likes to upgrade its apparatus after 20 years of use.

"It wasn't pumping as well as it should and doesn't have nearly the safety equipment as newer apparatus," Cerasoli said.

The truck seats five firefighters, but those riding in the back seat have a potentially chilly ride with a cab that is not enclosed.

Steamboat plans to take delivery of a new 110-foot ladder truck in December.

Cerasoli said the truck will cost about $1.2 million. It will come with a ladder that will reach 110 feet vertically and 90 feet horizontally without compromising water capacity, performance or safety.

The 1985 truck was kept at Steamboat's downtown station, while a newer 2002 truck with a 105-foot ladder is kept at the mountain station.

The city's fire protection needs call for having ladder trucks within three miles of each other.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.