Danville Express

Newsfront - January 5, 2007

San Ramon Valley fire district is ready to rescue

Firefighters get three new trucks with increased capacity

by Jordan M. Doronila

Three new bigger and better fire trucks arrived last month in the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District and are ready to be used to rescue people from burning buildings.

"We have a new piece of apparatus that has a greater ladder to reach and has more maneuverability," said Battalion Chief John Viera, the project's point man.

The district received the new trucks from Pennsylvania on Dec. 15 to replace three old ones that were reaching the end of their 25-year service lives. The new vehicles are tractor trailers and have 100-foot aerial ladders and an operator area in both the front and the back.

Viera said he had been working on the project for five years. Manufacturer American La France in Pennsylvania built the new trucks and had its employees drive them to Northern California. The company also creates trucks for fire districts in San Francisco, Oakland, Fremont and Los Angeles.

Viera said the district's last three trucks had aerial ladders that were less than 100 feet. The old ones had ladders that were 55, 75 and 85 feet.

"These have three times the storage capacity than the three trucks they are replacing," he said.

The trucks also can carry more equipment and will have space for digital gadgets in the future.

"They are like a rolling toolbox," Viera added.

Fire officials spent $2.1 million from the district's general fund to purchase the new trucks, which are expected to last for the next 25 years. They are officially called 100-foot, tractor-drawn aerial apparatus but are otherwise known as common Tiller Trucks. The three will be located in downtown Danville, Blackhawk and at the Central Park station in San Ramon.

Viera has been working in the district's apparatus committee for quite some time, said Battalion Chief Jack Barton.

"He's been there since the beginning for the whole design of the program," Barton said.

The committee has captains, engineers and firefighters who were in charge of procuring the new tiller trucks.

Barton noted that getting the three new tiller trucks has been the biggest change in the district since he has been there.

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