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East Bernstadt Fire Department has added a ladder/pumper truck to its fleet.

When the tones drop paging the East Bernstadt Fire Department, the first truck to roll will have one of the longest reaches in the county.

Using local and state money and grants, the department added the 1994 Mack ladder truck to its fleet of three pumpers, a tanker, rescue truck and cruiser.

“We purchased it from a fire department in Pennsylvania,” Assistant Chief Will Broughton said.

“The last couple of years, we have had at least a dozen fires where could use a truck of this nature,” he said.

The truck, which holds 500 gallons of water, can pump 1,500 gallons of water per minute and is equipped with a ladder capable of reaching up three stories. It can get firefighters above any existing structure in the department’s 50 square-mile service range, including East Bernstadt School, Truitt Brothers factory or any of the area churches, Broughton said.

“This can get the firefighters up into the structure a lot safer than using a ground ladder,” Broughton said. “If the fire is venting through the roof, the truck will permit firefighters to get a stream of water down on the fire.”

Though the department doesn’t have any automatic mutual aid agreements with neighboring departments, Broughton said the services of the ladder truck are just a phone call way.

“Any department in Laurel or the surrounding counties just needs to call,” Broughton said. “We can be out the door within five minutes of the page.”

Broughton said if the truck is taken care of, there is not reason it cannot remain in service with the department for at least the next 20 years.

Broughton said procuring the new truck was a joint effort by the department’s officers including Brent Davidson, Mike Sizemore, Darren Pennington, Amey Pennington, Justin Noe, Mitch Williams, Greg Penning and Broughton.

Staff writer Dean Manning may be reached at dmannings@sentinel-echo.com.

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