Officials get close look at new Farmington Hills aerial firetruck

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During a Monday night study session, Farmington Hills city officials took their inspection of the Fire Department’s newest vehicle to great heights.

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Farmington Hills Fire Department Lieutenant Donald Schinske rappels down a line from the city’s new aerial truck.

Mayor Ken Massey and council members Randy Bruce, Theresa Rich, Samantha Steckloff, Valerie Knol, Richard Lerner, and Michael Bridges, and City Clerk Pam Smith, each climbed into the aerial truck’s basket, which lifted them (a few at a time) 100 feet above the municipal campus at 11 Mile and Orchard Lake Roads.

Farmington Hills fire truck
Farmington Hills mayor Ken Massey, left, and council member Randy Bruce, right, buckle up before taking a ride in the aerial truck bucket. 

Fire Chief Jon Unruh said the truck, now known as Tower No. 1, came in about two weeks ago. It has a 101-foot aerial platform and carries 500 gallons of water and about 1,000 feet of five-inch firehose. Its pump can push 2,000 gallons of water per minute from hoses on the ground or turrets attached to the bucket.

“It’s a very versatile truck,” Unruh said. “It can be used for high-angle rescues.”

The truck’s computer system also ensures firefighter safety, he said. When the jacks that stabilize the truck can’t be extended all the way, “the computer will go ahead and determine the amount the jacks are out and will not allow the ladder to over-stress itself.”

Council members in September of 2017 agreed to purchase the vehicle at a cost of $1,067,510. Funds came from the city’s 2017-2018 Capital Improvements Program budget. Unruh said he expects the city will get 30-35 years of use from the vehicle.