Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to approve spending just over $1 million to purchase a new aerial ladder truck for the city’s Fire Department.

The new rear-tiller steered Pierce truck, equipped with a 100-foot aerial ladder, would replace a similar 23-year-old model that officials say is in poor condition.

Three years ago the city replaced its other aerial ladder truck, a 1990 model, with a new one for $958,000. That purchase was largely funded by a $600,000 federal homeland security grant.

The city has failed to qualify for a similar grant for the new truck, and so it plans to fund the purchase of the new vehicle — which has a projected 20-year life cycle — through general obligation bonds issued this year.

The articulated tiller design of the truck is designed to provide a tighter turning radius to more easily maneuver Evanston’s narrow streets.

Update 9:10 a.m. 8/12/14: The fire truck purchase was approved unanimously Monday night on the City Council’s consent agenda.

At the Administration and Public Works Committee meeting, Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, suggested the city “should go out begging, or shaming” not-for-profit, property-tax-exempt organizations in the city to help pay for the purchase of fire department vehicles.

Fire Chief Greg Klaiber said the old ladder truck, now 23 years old, will be sold for scrap once the new one is placed in service.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Extinguish the shooting

    Do we really have that many high-rise fires that we are in need of a new $1million dollar Fire truck? Let's extinguish the on going shooting violence first. I believe we have our priorities backwards, With schools returning in a little under two weeks, the focus should be on keeping our children safe. With all the so called implemented plans the shootings are still ocurring with no arrest. Are we saying the crimminals are that good? Or is local law enforcement spending to much time at the local donut shop.

    Extinguish the problems first.

    1. Wrong

      While I agree with you on solving the violence, I strongly disagree with you on this allocation for the fire truck.

      Sure, we have had no high rise fires.  But we do have many residential high rise buildings in Evanston.

      So to your point we should be reactionary, and only purchase such a truck only after a fire occurs, and perhaps only after lives have been lost?  

      I think our police and particularly fire services know what they are doing.  I wouldn't question it.

      1. If you think our local police

        If you think our local police dept. know what they're doing  go ask the residence of the 5th & 8th wards that are plauged by gun violence .Then your statement would be the biggest question of all .WHY?

        1. Expert
          Maybe I should not have included the EPD in my remarks, but I did because I respect what they are trying to do and support our Police Department.

          You expert in this kind of thing by chance?

        2. Evanston Police do an excellent job

          Yes, the Evanston Police do know what they're doing. But the gun violence in the 5th & 8th Wards that you cite are due to many structural and systemic societal factors beyond the control of EPD.

          When the police question residents who have witnessed crimes against their neighbors and in their neighborhood and are confronted with silence and blank stares what can EPD do?

          On the one hand people want EPD to solve all the problems in Evanston.

          On the other hand, people don't want to accept responsibility and won't act as a responsible citizen.

          good luck


    2. highrises and fires

      One of the arguments that the NIMBYs always trot out when someone proposes building something taller than 3 floors is that it will be dangerous – there could be a fire in the tall building, and people will be trapped, and we don't have the firefighting capability, and al Qaeda might fly a plane into Evanston, and children will get caught on the top floors (it's ALWAYS about the children).

      Like most (all?) NIMBY arguments, this is nonsense.  Modern highrises with sprinklers and multiple escape stairways are safer than old single-family houses.  Still, NIMBYs never let facts get in their way.

      Still, this new firetruck is a good idea.  Even though highrises are safer than NIMBY houses, it never hurts to have a long ladder than can maneuver in city streets – whether it is to fight fires at the top of Sherman plaza, or to get kittens out of very tall trees.

      I suspect that the NIMBYs will oppose it, because:

        1.   NIMBYs  hate everything that is good and useful

        2.   It would help people who live in highrise condos and apartments, and NIMBYs don't like people who live in condos and apartments.

        3.   It would further weaken one of the dumb NIMBY arguments against highrises:  "We don't have the capability to fight fires higher than 30 feet up ( or whatever)"


    3. Reply to Mr. Alott

      First of all I suggest that you look you as you walk or drive around Evanston. The height of all the NEW construction should show you why we need a arial truck. The very first responsibility of our ANY first responders is to SAVE LIVES! That can not be done with a step stool! Any building over three stories would need the ladders on the new truck. The arial ladder also has the capability of showering even one story buildings like many of the industerial buildings in Evanston. Now I bet if one of them was burning near your 1 story home you would sure love to have that protection! Now as to your comment about "law enforcement" most if not ALL of the problems here in Evanston could be solved if the families of the offenders took responsibility for their own family members that are the cause of most of the "violence". Those complaining usually are the one "I/we didn't see anything" when the shooter was in front on them. You want to stop this violence then, you and ALL other Evanston residents MUST follow this rule…"IF YOU SEE SOMETHING SAY SOMETHING". That's why Evanston has the TEXT A TIP OR JUST CALL 311. It's the SILENCE that is causing the increase in violence!

  2. How often does the EFD need a

    How often does the EFD need a 100 ft ladder?   I see their equipment used most often at the grocery store when the firemen go shopping.

    1. Highrise fire(s) in Evanston

      Would the current trucks [or even the new ones] have been enough for these.  Chase Bank and Rotary are 20+ stories and the high rise on Maple must be even higher.


      Previous big fires

      7th and 8th story of current Chase Bank building


      I don't think the buildings were very high but flames shot 300 ft.,2864783



      1700 Hinman Ave. fire was for a 2-3 story building but fire ladder went very high to fight it.

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