Spokane, Wash – You've probably seen some huge fire engines out on calls on wonder why they needed a ladder truck. Now that’s going to change. The Spokane Fire Department is moving toward cheaper vehicles.
The department says it needs to scale back in order to save its aging engines. Assistant Chief Brian Schaeffer said the department can't afford to lose them entirely, so the plan is to keep ladder trucks parked on most medical calls.
In the meantime, the department will use smaller vehicles like its 1990 Suburban, leftover from the city fleet, and a new Ford.
“Times have changed. The dollars aren't there. The community support isn't there, so we're forced to adapt and overcome,” Schaeffer said.
Since the majority of the department's calls are medical, the department expects to cut ladder truck use by about 80 percent.
The typical ladder truck costs about $1.3 million. The department says it doesn't know when that money will be back in the department's budget.