Excerpts from the DailyChronicle.com:

After working longer and responding to more fires than most DeKalb firefighters, Big John is ready to retire. Big John is DeKalb’s aerial ladder truck. After almost 26 years, the city plans to retire the truck and buy a used one from a department in Florida with financial assistance from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb Fire Chief Eric Hicks said. The truck, which was built in 1989, was named after Captain John Isom, who died of cancer the year the truck was delivered.

“A vehicle that’s 26 years old, you almost think of it as a member of the department,” Hicks said. “It’s a high-profile vehicle. People know it, whether by name or as something else.”

The city’s new truck will cost $420,000, with $275,000 coming from NIU, and the remainder from city funds. Hicks said the city explored several options, including buying a new truck, which would have cost about $1 million. The city also discussed refurbishing Big John for about $650,000.

From the Dekalb Facebook page:

Our new truck made it home from Florida and is now awaiting decals. Looks pretty good in its new home!

Weston Fire Department tower ladder

Dekalb Fire Department Facebook page

thanks Dan