Excerpts from the journal-topics.com:

While the Park Ridge Fire Department was planning to replace its tower ladder in the next year or so, the fire in July at the former Marathon gas station at Oakton and Northwest Highway has radically moved up the priorities for ordering.

Fire Chief Jeff Sorensen reported Monday night (Oct. 28) at the Committee of the Whole meeting that two of the ladder’s three sections had been damaged and no longer can be used.

United Laboratories (UL) inspected it and condemned the ladder, which failed its strength test.

The department was told that trying to repair the ladder would cost a quarter of a million dollars, and it still would not be safe to use because the new parts would not fit together well enough. Exposure to a corrosive material during the fire also degraded metal fittings and connections.

The trade-in value the 2001 aerial truck might have brought before the July fire is much reduced.

Currently they are using it as a service truck with equipment, ground ladders and provide a fire pump.

To make the tour ladder last as long as possible and reduce unnecessary mileage, the department recently outfitted Rescue 36, a smaller vehicle, to run EMS calls in place of the truck.

With mileage that now tops 79,000 miles, the department knew the truck would need to be replaced soon, but it had not scheduled ordering another until Fiscal Year 2021, which starts next May.

A new truck is estimated at $1.4 million. Advancing the delivery date by six months would be an important step forward.

After contacting companies which manufacture fire trucks to price specific features they need, the department learned that prices for all manufacturers are expected to go up after the end of the year. There are not many companies, and the sales people prefer to take orders for several at a time. It takes about a year to fill an order.

Pre-budget discussions will begin in November during capital improvement and levy consideration.