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ZEBULON — The Zebulon Fire Department has two new firetrucks this week — a $1.7 million investment department leaders said was necessary to maintain safety and cost efficiency.
The new trucks are an engine and a ladder truck. The engine is replacing a 22-year-old engine that has outlived its useful life of 20 years, Chief Chris Perry said. The ladder truck is replacing a 32-year-old model, which has also surpassed its useful life, according to Perry.
The trucks were bought by the town of Zebulon with some financial assistance from the county.
The ladder truck arrived last week, and the engine on Monday. After a period of training with the new trucks, they will go into service later this month.
The replacements will reduce money spent on maintenance, will be more reliable and include better safety features than the older models, Perry said.
“Firetrucks have to be available for instant use at a moment’s notice,” Perry said, explaining that the older vehicle sometimes had mechanical problems. “That was really the case for our ladder truck. There are so many moving parts, so many mechanical issues, it was common for our ladder truck to break down or have issues.”
The new engine is shorter than the previous engine. Perry said this allows the truck to more easily navigate narrow streets associated with the urban development Zebulon is expecting in the coming decades.
Other new features include airbags (which older models didn’t have), and easily cleanable surfaces and various filters that will reduce firefighters’ exposure to certain cancer-causing chemicals associated with firefighting.
“What makes them really special is they have more safety features than any vehicle we have ever purchased,” Perry said.
With the new trucks, developed by Pierce Manufacturing in Wisconsin, the Zebulon fleet is now within its replacement schedule. The next firetruck is scheduled to need to be replaced in 2027, Perry said.
The two new trucks are also replacing a light rescue truck. Perry said that replacing the rescue truck with a new one isn’t needed because with the new vehicles, the fleet can be restructured to be more efficient than in the past.
These are the first firetrucks Zebulon has gotten since 2013, when the town received a surplussed 2009 model from the Wake Forest Fire Department.