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Fire district obtains used 65-foot ladder truck for $495,000
LM fire

In his monthly address to residents, Lathrop Manteca Fire Chief Gene Neely explained the difference between a fire truck and a fire engine and why such a distinction is important.

And in the case of Lathrop, he said, the loss of the backup truck – which had a 65-foot ladder that was decertified, which meant that it couldn’t be used for rescues because it had eclipsed its life-cycle – is what is prompting the agency to propose the purchase of a new backup truck that will provide a 100-foot backup ladder that can put to use.

“Recently we made a purchase to get in alignment with our replacement policy – we purchased a used truck, which is the third of the cost of a new truck,” Neely said. “We paid about $495,000 when a new truck of this magnitude would be about $1.5 million.”

Part of what has allowed Neely the flexibility to make purchases like the one that will be arriving soon was the will of the voters in 2012 – passing a one cent sales tax increase, 40 percent of which goes to the fire district to help cover the cost of personnel and apparatus.

Having the backing of the city and the independent committee that provides oversight when it comes to how the money is spent is something that Neely said has been important and has helped provide resources during lean times and allowed for a higher level of service now that development is booming.

“Measure C has been a huge asset for our organization,” Neely said. “Working with the city in order to obtain that – we have been able to staff our stations and have some one-time purchases of trucks and rescues.

“We were frugal with it – we went out there and found a great buy and we’re hoping to have that here in April.”

Lathrop’s agreement with developers in strategic areas also include provisions that allow for the purchase of apparatus when a designated number of homes are constructed. River Islands, which is expected to have a commercial and retail component, will be one of the stations that will have a fire truck in order to provide the level of service as outlined in planning documents.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.