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Ladder truck serves as Mantecas fourth full staffed fire engine
The view from the top of Manteca’s aerial platform ladder truck. - photo by GLENN KAHL
Wal-Mart.  Doctor’s Hospital.  Food 4 Less.  Bass Pro.  Costco.  Name any of the large buildings within the Manteca city limits and you will be describing buildings that would require an aerial ladder to extinguish a large fire.  Do you frequent any of these establishments?  

In fulfilling the need to protect community, the City of Manteca purchased a dual purpose “Quint” style truck rather than the one dimensional “traditional” style truck.  The difference is the “Quint,” in addition to having an aerial ladder, is equipped with fire hose, a pump, and a water tank just like a Fire Engine.  For all intents and purposes it functions as a fire engine with the bonus of having an Aerial Ladder and other specialized equipment, required in firefighting efforts of large buildings.  Many municipalities run their “Quint’s” as a front-line Fire Engine responding to all emergencies.  The City of Manteca’s ladder truck has been busy responding to emergencies regularly when the next closest engine is at another emergency.  In essence, it has become our fourth staffed fire engine.  

This dual purpose ability to run the aerial ladder truck as a fourth fire engine has served the citizens of Manteca very well especially with the delay of a fourth fire station due to budgetary constraints. An additional benefit is the nine firefighters that staff the Aerial Ladder Truck are all funded through the Public Safety Sales Tax (PSST) and not by the General Fund.  The PSST Fund was established to increase fire and police forces without impacting the city budget, which is struggling.  

Emergencies requiring the use of the “aerial ladder” component of our truck will be the exception to the rule.  These emergencies are what civic leaders refer to as “low frequency” incidents with “high consequences.”  High consequences involve severe property damage or loss of life.  They are few and far between, but it only takes once to have a significant impact on our community.