$227,000 vehicle will replace one that provided 30 years of service
TONICA — The Tonica Volunteer Fire Department has recently taken delivery of a brand-new rescue truck that will provide the department with a variety of new features and capabilities.
The new light-duty, 6.7-liter diesel-powered rescue truck will replace the 1988 Ford L8000 medium-duty truck that served the department well for the past 30 years.
“It’s been a great truck for us and it’s done it’s job well, but it’s time,” Rick Turri, public information and training officer for the Tonica department, said.
The new 330-horsepower truck is a $227,000 Ford F550 from Pierce Manufacturing located in Bradenton, Fla.
It will help Tonica’s first responders safely get to emergency scenes with four-wheel drive, and once there, its high-visibility “Chrome yellow” paint will help alert others to its presence.
The Tonica Volunteer Fire Department switched in 1980 from having its vehicles in the traditional red to yellow, which is more noticeable and therefore safer.
“It’s more stable, has a lower profile, and features better scene lighting with the latest in LED lighting and other technology,” Turri said.
As well as the standard LED lighting, the new truck also features high-intensity, cab-operated spotlights, and a top-mounted flood light tower that can rise an additional 8 feet plus.
“And because the lights are all LED, which draw little electricity, there’s no generator needed,” Turri said.
The 1988 truck needs a 6,500-kilowatt on-board generator to power the department’s necessary lighting.
Turri said he expects the new rescue truck to possibly last the department another 30 years, but there’s plenty of work remaining before it sees its first official duty.
“First, we need to transfer all the gear from the older truck, and then everyone will have to complete their training on it,” Turri said.
It will also have a light-duty winch and a backup camera installed prior to its entry into service.
Turri couldn’t definitively say how long the department had saved before buying the truck, but quickly added, “We’re always saving.”
The department’s oldest vehicles are now the 1999 ambulance and its 2001 pumper.
The department is funded without property taxation and operates through the generous donations from those within the community and its outlying protection areas.