After a long drive from Wisconsin, the Kyle Fire Department is welcoming a new fire truck to the fleet. The ladder truck is the first of its kind for the Kyle Fire Department. The ladder can stretch 75 feet into the air, giving firefighters a better vantage point for fighting large fires.
The fire department says the truck is necessary as thousands of new people move to the city every year.
“We’re getting numerous apartment complexes. We’re getting more and more, and we have several waiting to break ground,” said Kyle Fire Chief Kyle Taylor.
The new truck costs around $900,000, paid for with money from the Emergency Service District 5 funds. Before the department received the truck, Assistant Fire Chief Mike Vasil says the department would have to call in help from San Marcos or Austin.
“A lot of apartments don’t have sprinklers in the attic, so if we had one that catches on fire, we would have to call San Marcos or Austin and the same thing for these large residential structures we have,” said Vasil. He said it could take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes for a ladder truck to arrive.
That’s precious time when fighting a fire and in other situations it could be the difference between life and death.
“If there’s a water rescue, we do have a lot of low-water crossings in the Kyle area, we would raise the ladder up, stick it off the back of the truck and use a rope to pull in the stranded driver,” said Vasil.
The department says the truck is a sign of growth, but also a sign of independence as the department no longer has to rely on neighboring cities for as many calls.
Although the truck has been responding to calls since last Thursday, the official ceremony to put the truck into service will be Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. at the Miller Whitaker Fire Station.
The Austin Fire Department says it has 17 ladder trucks stationed throughout the city. San Marcos, Round Rock, Georgetown and Cedar Park all have two.