New fire engine arrives in Holton
It’s been almost 25 years since Holton’s volunteer fire department welcomed a new fire engine with a high aerial ladder for fighting fires from above.
But shortly after 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, a brand-new fire engine with a 109-foot aerial ladder — 44 feet longer than the aerial ladder on the fire department’s previous “first-out” fire truck — arrived in Holton, and members of the fire department were on hand to welcome it.
“We’ve been wanting a new aerial for about 10 years,” Holton Fire Chief Scott Baum said on the arrival of the new fire engine, purchased through Hays Fire and Rescue Sales and Service of Hays and built by Rosenbauer Motors of Wyoming, Minn., where Baum and four other firefighters visited earlier in the week to give the new fire engine it’s final inspection.
On Thursday, after a long and arduous two-day drive through snowpacked Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri, that “new aerial” was backed into a rear bay at Holton’s Public Safety Building by Greg Moody of Hays Fire.
Baum said he plans to get Holton’s firefighters trained on all aspects of the new fire engine before making it the department’s “first-out” vehicle. In the meantime, the department’s current “first-out” truck, a vehicle with a 65-foot aerial ladder in service since 1999, will remain in service.
“We’ve got some training coming up,” Baum said. “We’re going to go over the aerial operations and the general operations of it all, and then as a department, we’re going to train on it and make sure that we’re knowledgeable on all the parts.”
How long that training will take, Baum noted, is unknown, since the new fire engine is “a whole different beast” from the department’s current “first-out” vehicle. The chief added that he did not want to rush the training, however.
“Driving it, parking it, how the truck operates and the outrigging — it’s just 100 percent different from what we have. I want to make sure the department’s comfortable with it,” he said.
The new fire engine’s arrival came more than two years after the Holton City Commission approved its purchase in November of 2021 at a cost of $970,595 from Hays Fire, with about $455,000 of the purchase to be covered by a Kansas Department of Commerce Community Development Block Grant.
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