TORRINGTON – The Torrington Volunteer Fire Department is getting a new truck – a big one.
A joint effort by the Torrington City Council, Goshen County Board of Commissioners, Torrington Volunteer Fire Department and several other entities resulted in a successful Mineral Royalties Grant application to fund a new aerial platform fire apparatus, the first of its kind in Goshen County and one of only a handful in the state.
The rig hasn’t gone to bid yet, but it is expected to cost in around $1.4 million. The grant will cover 75% of the cost. Rural fire district No. 3 and the City of Torrington will split the remainder.
“It’s one of those things the department has tried and wanted for a long time,” TVFD Chief Lance Petsch said. “Things just haven’t worked out, and luckily this time things seemed to go well.
“You have to have a lot of help from everybody in the county. We had to get a resolution from the county commissioners, we had to have information from the city, the county treasurer’s office, and we had to work with the assessor’s office, as well. There was a lot of information that had to be gathered for the application, and we had to rely on a lot of elected officials to help us out.”
The TVFD had to request assistance from the Scottsbluff, Neb., Fire Department three times in 2019 to gain access to an aerial platform truck. According to Petsch, having the truck in the TVFD’s arsenal will make it much safer for the firefighters to do their jobs.
“That’s the driving force behind it – firefighter safety and being able to serve the community more efficiently and safer,” Petsch said.
“I think it’s going to be huge for the community and the safety of the firefighters. Just the safety provided for firefighters to go up on a roof, you just have to step off a platform, do work, and step back on, as opposed to climbing up a ladder and needing to go through that. There are plenty of multi-story structures in our community that if something bad were to happen on someone is stuck on a second floor, now we have the ability to go up this way and bring them out on a platform and down as opposed to trying to put a 24-inch ladder up and bring somebody down on a ladder.”
It could take up to a year for the truck to arrive in Torrington, depending on whether or not the TVFD elects to purchase a brand-new truck. Petsch said the TVFD will be taking its time to find the right truck for the department.
“We want to be really careful and make sure we get what we want,” he said. “This isn’t an every-five-year purchase. This is going to be expected to be around for 25 or 30 years. We have to make sure we do our due diligence to make sure we get what we need for the community.”
And when it arrives, local firefighters will receive extensive training on how to operate it.
“When you have something you’re going to put 100 feet up in the air, there are some possibilities in it,” he said. “There will be extensive training, and it’s not just using the ladder portion – it’s how to drive a truck like that and where to position it. You have to look out for overhead power lines and there are just a lot of factors that way on how you position a piece of equipment you can use for a fire.”