NEW PALESTINE — It was designed to be one of the finest fire fighting trucks in the business, and after years of planning and design, the new $500,000 tool and equipment rescue truck is operational at Sugar Creek Township Fire Department.
Township officials officially put the vehicle into operation earlier this month. They held a dedication ceremony recently to showcase it.
Interim Fire Chief John Begovich said the truck is equipped to respond to accidents, disasters and, of course fires.
“It has what we call a cascade system – a repressed air source,” Begovich said. “We can refill our air tanks on this, and on top if it is a large light tower with a huge bank of lights, like at a stadium.”
This type of truck allows the department to be more versatile when trying to help people in need, Begovich said.
“This truck carries everything from the basic needs to our hydraulic tools – what people used to call the jaws of life,” he said.
The vehicle can also be called at night to help police who may need extra illumination to investigate a crime scene.
“This type of truck just lets us increase our abilities in so many different ways,” Begovich said.
The new truck replaces an older rescue truck that lasted 15 years. The newer unit is expected to last at least a decade and took several years to design and equip. The firefighters have gone through special training to learn how to operate and drive the truck, lessons Begovich said will be ongoing.
Township Trustee Bob Boyer said while the truck was being designed and configured, his goal was to come up with a way to pay for it without going into debt. The township paid cash for the truck, Boyer said.
Begovich and Boyer said several firefighters in the department spent many hours designing the truck to make sure it was outfitted to help firefighters do their job.
“Every tool, every socket, every screwdriver has its own little slot,” Boyer said.