El Dorado Hills Fire purchases $1.1 million ladder truck

By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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EL DORADO HILLS, CA - El Dorado Hills residents may have noticed a bright, new, shiny and large fire truck rolling through town.

The fire department recently purchased a new ladder truck for $1.1 million to replace an older – and less efficient – model.

Chief Mike Lilienthal of El Dorado Hills Fire Station 85 said the truck replaces a 15-year-old ladder truck that has seen better days.

“The old one is out of service 50 percent of the time due to repair issues,” he said.

Fire department personnel say they looked long and hard to find just the right ladder truck to serve the community.

“We were able to find a demo unit,” Lilienthal said.

With the topography of El Dorado Hills, the old truck doesn’t have the power to climb the hills, according to officials.

The new ladder truck can pump water, has full paramedic equipment and we can extend the ladder 100 feet.

“We have a lot of homes that are two stories and on hills. A smaller truck wouldn’t have the ability to get up a steep driveway and get water on the roofs of a lot of these homes,” Lilienthal said. “This one can stage on the street and extend the ladder – with up to four firefighters in the bucket to get water on the fire.”

There are two hose connections at the bucket which means that firefighters no longer have to run hose line up the ladder, but instead can carry the equipment they need in the large bucket at the end of the massive ladder.

“They can do anything from this truck. It’s a beautiful piece of equipment and will be a benefit to the community,” Lilienthal said.

In the event of a wild land fire, the engine crew would respond with a smaller apparatus.

Most fire departments use ladder trucks in areas that have high-rise buildings. That’s not the case in El Dorado Hills, but the department says the engine was the right decision.

“It is also the only manned ladder truck in the county and will be used in mutual aid instances,” Lilienthal said.

Arnold Bates, an area resident, said although it’s a lot of money to spend, it seems like a good investment.

“I know it sounds like a large expenditure, but in the long run, it will be good for the community,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of fires here – that I now of – but if something were to happen and it was your house, you will be glad we have the big truck.”