To look at the Lino Lakes fire truck known as Aerial Eleven, you can’t really tell there’s a problem bad enough to keep it parked at the station.
“The mechanics of the truck, like the engine is still good, the transmission is still good,” said Public Safety Deputy Director Dan L’Allier. “The paint looks great. It’s until you climb underneath and start looking at the corrosion on the frame.”
Deputy Public Safety Director L’Allier says the rust on the frame was bad enough to take it out of service. It was determined to be un-repairable, and crews are now removing parts that can be re-used.
It left the Lino Lakes fire department with a problem. They needed a pumper truck that could also carry water in areas of the city with no hydrants. One option was to buy a new truck.
“There’s not a lot out there with supply chain issues,” said L’Allier. “Trucks are many, many months out, 24 or greater. So to build a truck, we would be without a truck until it was delivered, and that would be between 24 and 36 months.”
So they quickly started looking for a used truck that would cost less and could be delivered faster. They found this 2004 model in Wisconsin for nearly $182,000 dollars.
“Used trucks are like used cars right now, they’re a premium,” said L’Allier. “Inflation is crazy. We were lucky to find the truck and secure that truck. Our council moved quickly to purchase it.”
But it only answers part of the department’s needs. This one doesn’t carry enough water, and they’ll rely on two smaller vehicles that are also getting older.
“We’ve got a committee together to nail down a specification for two new water tender pumpers that will replace our two tenders and then replace this truck that we purchased, this used truck,” said L’Allier.
They hope to make those changes within the next three years.