The City of Wilmington Fire Department is conducting training for a maneuverable fire truck that cost more than $1 million.
The 2014 Pierce Velocity FR is a dual driver fire truck. One driver operates the truck and another driver sits in the back and operates the trailer.
The driver in back, called the tiller operator, is responsible for turning the back wheels of the truck. With the dual drivers, the firefighters are able to navigate the truck through the narrow streets of downtown Wilmington.
"There are just places we can't get those hundred foot ladders with the straight truck," said Scott Rivenbark Master Firefighter at the WFD.
According to the fire department, the truck will be able to get closer to the fires and spray water from a higher elevation.
The truck is a specialty truck so its ability to navigate downtown has nothing to do with the response time to a fire. Instead, it arrives second or third on the scene and is used to apply "big water" to a scene in a defensive fire-fighting situation.
The tiller tractor drawn aerial fire truck cost the department more than $1 million.
"It's $130,000 cheaper than the truck we bought in 2006 would cost us today," Rivenbark said. "And this has the maneuverability."
Firefighters are in the process of training on the tiller truck and will debut the truck for use in October. According to the department, it will mostly be used downtown but it has the capability to go anywhere.
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