Town Square

Post a New Topic

Palo Alto fire gets new $1.2 million ladder truck

Original post made on Jun 30, 2014

The Palo Alto Fire Department will today officially induct a new $1.2 million aerial ladder truck into its fleet at an afternoon ceremony.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, June 30, 2014, 8:56 AM

Comments (23)

Posted by Nancy, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 30, 2014 at 9:01 am

I know from experience that bigger is better.

Posted by Nancy's Husband, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 30, 2014 at 9:14 am

Money trumps size.

Posted by Wondering?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2014 at 9:18 am

Guess the fire department is guessing that the 50 foot height limit will be overturned by the City Council one of these days.

Hope this rig fits into all of the fire stations--seems that one rig that was purchsed some years ago was too big to fit into some (or all) of the stations.

Of course, having a rig that is too big to fit into a station because another crisis that can only be resolved by selling more bonds and building bigger stations. Wonder how long before the City is buying 125 foot ladder-trucks?

Posted by Cowper Resident, a resident of Professorville
on Jun 30, 2014 at 10:22 am

Wondering? - Consider the geometry required to fight a fire. The outlet nozzle must be considerably higher than the height of the building to apply the water stream down onto any part of the building - particularly to the rear, where the ladder platform is unlikely to have ready access. The reach of the truck also needs to be at an angle to allow aiming the water stream, which makes the total reach requirement even greater.

Posted by randy albin, a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 30, 2014 at 10:24 am

wow, this is almost what a house costs. this isn't the old palo alto. where is the money coming from? the costs are sky-high and through the roof

Posted by George Jones, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 30, 2014 at 10:40 am

Glad they went to bid on this $1.2M piece of equipment that is paid for with our tax dollars. Oh wait, the chief wanted a Pierce and even though they are not the only builder, just the most expensive, he found away around the bid laws. Good job and I hope the dealer spends the money locally. Oh wait, they are in the central valley and does not pay taxes here....................never mind.

Posted by Wondering?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2014 at 10:55 am

> The outlet nozzle must be considerably higher than the height of the
> building to apply the water stream down onto any part of the building

So .. why did the City buy a 75-foot fifteen years ago? The same problem fighting fires existed then, didn't they?

Posted by Tim, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 30, 2014 at 12:42 pm

I for one am pleased we are replacing old equipment with something that will work properly when there is a fire. Congratulations to the fire department and thank you from a grateful resident! Of all the nonsense this city spends money on, this is a rare wise investment.

Posted by Ryan, a resident of University South
on Jun 30, 2014 at 2:29 pm

When Palo Alto loses the Stanford Fire contract, will this truck fit in any of the Palo Alto Fire Stations?

Posted by senor blogger, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 30, 2014 at 3:59 pm

I guess we will now have to build all new fire stations in order to fit this brand new bigger, better truck!!!!!

Posted by Commonality, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 30, 2014 at 4:26 pm

@ George Jones: There's a reason to buy the same kind of truck you already have -- "The addition of the Pierce model truck also provides standardization among the fire department's current fleet, which includes six Pierce engines. This allows the mechanics to stock a supply of regularly needed parts to repair and maintain each apparatus, to use the same diagnostic software for the entire fire fleet, and to utilize their training on the Pierce fire apparatuses," according to the PAFD's news release.

Posted by whiners, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 30, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Some people will whine about anything. I admit, however, that the newspaper is encouraging the whiners by teasing the price of the fire truck in the article title instead of its capabilities.

If your neighborhood is on fire, I guarantee that you will want the fire department to use the most appropriate equipment to fight the fire.

Posted by Deep Throat, a resident of another community
on Jun 30, 2014 at 7:20 pm

When Palo Alto loses the Stanford fire contract, Stanford will ge the fire truck.

Posted by E. Clay, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jun 30, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Something this article doesn't touch on is the 1997 75' aerial was purchased used from San Jose thus why it looks so similar to SJFD for those paying attention. Further, the old rig was sold so it did help offset the cost. On the other hand all rigs need regular intervals of maintenance--so when this truck is out of service there will be NO aerial unit available.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 30, 2014 at 11:26 pm

Mountain View and Palo Alro share resources when to comes to large equipment. MV has large ladder trucks as well.

Posted by coooper, a resident of another community
on Jul 1, 2014 at 12:33 am

In my community a huge ladder truck was bought exclusively for two 8-story buildings in town. They have never caught fire, but every time two bumpers meet on the freeway, they roll out this behemoth of a fire truck. I live near the station, and I can tell you it's extremely noisy, polluting, and a fuel hog.
So, I hope Palo Alto restricts its use to serious situations, for environmental reasons.

Posted by Katie, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 1, 2014 at 9:28 am

Why must the article start with the price??!!!??? Why can't you start with "better equipment to fight fire"!!???!!!
Palo Alto Online skews the majority of articles about the Fire Department, if you write anything at all. These amazing men and women do so much for the city of Palo Alto and they get so much criticism. Be happy they want to help and not want to sit behind a desk all day like the majority of the city people.

Posted by Anneke, a resident of Professorville
on Jul 2, 2014 at 7:13 am

With tongue firmly planted in cheek......

With the building height exemptions City staff and City council have approved over the years, we need the new ladder truck. In fact, may be a reason to approve more and higher exemptions in order to get good use from our new equipment.

Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 2, 2014 at 2:39 pm


My guess is that several years ago, Palo Alto decided to rely on neighboring fire departments with larger ladder trucks in the event that the 75-footer was too short. Today, with the 125-ft. truck, they are more self-sufficient.

There are existing structures in Palo Alto that are over 100 feet tall; the current 50 ft. building height limit doesn't eliminate the need to provide fire services coverage to taller buildings that were built prior to the current regulations.

The 75-footer provided fifteen years of coverage for a wide number of structures. The new 125-ft. ladder truck can provide coverage for even taller buildings such as city hall and 101 Alma. Of course, Stanford has its own tall structures as well.

Of course, Palo Alto's new 125-ft truck may be called into service to help in situations in nearby towns, much as Palo Alto has received assistance from other towns over the years when they needed extra resources.

Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 3, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

Does it come with an option on a $250,000 Dalmatian?

But seriously is this to compensate for fact that since passing Measure D to throw out the public safety collective bargaining agreement we are getting out-bid on the best and brightest fire-fighters?

How much do you want to bet that our chief can recite the features of this new toy better than he can recite his own pledge of honor? At Council the other night, in response to Mark Berman softball question about his swearing in oath, the chief said "um,,,honor and integrity or something...that was a while ago" (regarding College Terrace housing proposal and our decision to lax the fire code to build three extra houses there)

If you see smoke coming from north end of Oak Creek Apartments, that's just me trying to figure out why, as the son and grandson of car salesman, I am NOT in the business of selling $1.2 million fire trucks.

Wouldn't 1.2 million toy fire trucks do just as well, ala the film "Fast Cheap and Out of Control"?

Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 3, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

I checked my math: Pottery Barn has a $50 fire trucks such that we might have instead procured a fleet of 24,000 trucks with "removable hoses that fit together".

Web Link

Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 3, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

The real estate ad, with a model kitchen, underneath the picture of our new "Tiller' for a second there I mistook for the cushy interior of this land-yacht.

I do seriously respect and thank our public safety personnel but am continually mystified by the simultaneous attack on workers and hyper-investment in capital expenditures.

There is also a short story, from 2002, in Harper's by Stanford Pulitzer Prize fiction writer Adam Johnson "Teen Sniper" imagining a fictional version of our public safety headquarters, or more specifically a SWAT team and sniper squadron and their cushy digs.

I'm the kind of guy who would rather see the $1.2 million in subsidized local housing for public safety workers, as a way to get better and better human factors here.

Posted by Woo, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 3, 2014 at 7:36 pm

It truly amazes me the lack of knowledge from the majority of you. I encourage you all not speculate on the reasons for the new equipment and contact members of the fire department for the truth. And I expect i will be lambasted by some of you. Truth is not as interesting as speculation, have at me.

If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

On Tour at Selective Schools: Chapman, La Verne, Redlands, Whittier
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 1 comment | 1,887 views

The dress code
By Jessica T | 17 comments | 1,762 views

Two Days to Save This Dog?
By Cathy Kirkman | 15 comments | 1,171 views

. . . People will never forget how you made them feel.
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,145 views

It Depends... Disguising Real Characters in Fiction
By Nick Taylor | 0 comments | 383 views