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Ladder truck is ‘Pride of Park Avenue’

Firefighter Berndt Bittlingmaier raises the ladder on the Bremerton Fire Department’s new ladder truck, housed in the recently opened Park Avenue station downtown. - Sean Janssen/Staff photo
Firefighter Berndt Bittlingmaier raises the ladder on the Bremerton Fire Department’s new ladder truck, housed in the recently opened Park Avenue station downtown.
— image credit: Sean Janssen/Staff photo

An important piece of new technology is making work for Bremerton firefighters safer and more efficient.

A new ladder truck purchased by the department about a year ago replaces a much older 1973 model.

“This one is much, much, much more stable,” said Lt. Lonell Williams. “That (older) one starts getting real wobbly once you get toward the top (of the ladder).”

Some of the features that make the newer truck more stable are lifts that raise the entire 31-ton truck off the ground and an integrated pump system that allows the truck to operate without being attached to a separate pumper.

The older truck had shorter outriggers that left open the possibility of “short jacking,” setting the outriggers up unevenly which can cause the truck to tip over. Also, when a ladder truck has to be connected to a pumper, the process of ladder pipe evolution takes eight to 10 minutes to set up, time that is valuable when battling a blaze.

The newer system can instantly get water through at more than a thousand gallons of water per minute and it is possible to maneuver the nozzle remotely. The newer ladder has a wider maximum “scrub area,” its range with the ladder, can store more equipment and has many features that are now push-button rather than requiring pulls or levers.

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