JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
BURNET — Game changer. That’s what Burnet Fire Chief Mark Ingram called the Quint 1 ladder truck during a so-called “push-in” ceremony at the fire station Nov. 30.
The city purchased the truck in June for $1.1 million.
“It provides so much protection, not only for the citizens but for the firefighters,” he said. “It’s hard to explain the must-have and the value.”
The push-in ceremony, during which firefighters washed the truck’s tires and physically pushed it into the bay, was a first for the city of Burnet. Fire departments across the country take part in the ceremony when bringing a new truck into service
Ingram noted that, previously during big fires, firefighters had to use roofs to move up structures. But that’s all changed because of Quint 1.
A couple of weeks ago, the Marble Falls Fire Department contacted its Burnet neighbors asking them to assist with Quint 1 during a rainstorm that had flooded low-water crossings and endangered drivers. The Marble Falls ladder truck was unavailable because of maintenance. And though people were safely out of harm’s way by the time Burnet firefighters arrived, Ingram said he and his crew were happy to be able to offer assistance.
“Like they did for years for us,” he said. “Safety from a chief’s standpoint is the key.”
Before the acquisition of Quint 1, any time the city of Burnet needed a ladder truck, Ingram had to reach out to Lampasas or Marble Falls, the two closest fire departments with ones of their own.
“Geographically, look at how far they are away,” he said. “It takes awhile to get here to attack things from the beginning.”
And because of the age of the city’s other fire engine, which is 21 years old, the department would have been forced to upgrade soon, Ingram said.
“This (new) truck has the ability to fight small fires up to multi-structures,” he said.
Quint 1 received its name because of its five-in-one capabilities, including:
- pumping water at a huge capacity;
- holding water in its tank;
- holding hundreds of feet of hose;
- carrying multiple ladders;
- and having a 100-foot ladder on its top.
The truck was purchased “at a great discount because it was a demo unit,” Ingram said. “It was used as a showpiece at various venues.”
Ingram credited many entities for the purchase of the ladder truck, including: the city of Burnet; the Burnet Economic Development Corp., which contributed $200,000; Emergency Services District No. 7, which pledged $126,000; and the firefighters themselves. The Burnet City Council had previously approved $300,000 for the purchase for a total of $626,000. The remaining balance of $474,000 came out of the city’s 90-day reserves. City Manager David Vaughn said the city considers that amount a loan and pay itself back.
Ingram couldn’t emphasize enough what the ladder truck means to his city, his department, and the community.
“It’s big for our community as a whole,” he said. “I’m very proud to be part of the team that put this together. And I really mean a team. We spent over a year and countless hours meeting and shopping and meeting again.”