Biloxi getting a new ladder truck

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Biloxi Fire Department is in the process of adding a new truck to its fleet. This was discussed in Tuesday's city council meeting.

The last time the fire department purchased a new ladder truck was about eight years ago. At that time, shopping for and buying a new unit was mostly done by the chief and the assistant chief.

This time, Fire Chief Joe Boney wanted to do things differently. When he approached CAO David Nichols with the idea of creating an apparatus committee within the department, Nichols was supportive.

"The folks who use it everyday when they go to fight fires all the way up to the training officers, to the assistant chief and chief," said Nichols.

Nichols said this was the first time people from across the spectrum of fire fighting would get a say in the final design of the truck.

"As they look at this equipment, they look and they say this will work better. Or this will work easier. This will help us fight the fires better," said Nichols.

He said Boney's decision to do this was because he understands that the people who use the truck the most should have a say in its design.

"He likes participation across the board," said Nichols.

That participation is exactly what Chief Boney was going for.

"They did 90 percent of the leg work on the truck, and I really commend them. They did a great job on the truck," said Boney.

He said the new $990,000 ladder truck will be funded by a Community Development Block Grant. It will take a year to build because fire trucks are completed from the ground, up.

"Meaning from the frame on up is custom-built," said Boney.

According to Boney, the cost of the last ladder truck was right at $1 million. He was able to get a better price, this time around, because the truck was designed with only the necessities. That's something he says the committee made possible.

"We feel like we will be able to provide a great piece of equipment to protect the city and the citizens at a reduced cost," said Boney.

If fire equipment is older than 20 years, the city's fire rating could be affected, which could have an impact on fire insurance in the city. When the new truck enters the fleet, it will be replacing a 19-year-old ladder unit, which will keep the rating.

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