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South Lockport awaits new $720,000 aerial truck

LOCKPORT – The South Lockport Fire Company will take delivery of a new $720,000 aerial truck next week, the company’s treasurer said Monday.

Henry Fischer said the volunteer fire company is borrowing most of the money from a bank after making an $80,000 down payment.

Lockport Town Attorney Michael J. Norris told the Town Board at a work session Monday that the fire company needs a letter from the town affirming that South Lockport is an established fire company. The board is expected to approve that letter at its formal meeting Wednesday night.

Fischer said that letter is for the benefit of the Internal Revenue Service, which then will allow a federal subsidy on the interest to be paid on the 15-year loan.

Norris said, “There is no financial involvement of the Town of Lockport, period.”

“We’ve been truck-shopping for a year,” Fischer said. South Lockport settled on a model produced by the aerials division of Rosenbauer America in Fremont, Neb. The new truck, replacing a 15-year-old aerial unit, will have a 101-foot ladder with a bucket on the end, Fischer said.

When it was pointed out to him that the Town of Lockport has a 35-foot height limit on buildings, he recalled raising that question himself when South Lockport bought its first aerial truck.

Fischer said, “If every fire were fought where you could bring the truck right up next to the building, we could survive with a 40-foot ladder.”

But not only is the truck too heavy to drive on unpaved surfaces, but South Lockport had to take its mutual aid responsibilities into account, Fischer said.

“We know we can be called into the city (of Lockport) at any time,” Fischer said.

And the city has far taller buildings than the town, such as Urban Park Towers, 77 Main St. In March, the Lockport Fire Department used the bucket on its ladder truck to smash a 12th-floor window to an apartment there, in which a woman had barricaded herself, threatening to commit suicide.

Fischer said, “What it really comes down to is, the fire protection rating of the town is based on equipment.”

The 15-year-old aerial truck will be put up for sale, Fischer said. The new one is to arrive Monday.