WARRENTON?— The city of Astoria’s ladder truck saved Warrenton’s bacon from burning to a crisp during the Mother’s Day fire at the Columbia Pointe Apartments in Hammond.

Chief Ted Ames told the city commission Tuesday night that if the ladder truck hadn’t been there, the second floor of the apartment building would have probably been lost.

Instead, 11 people were displaced. Seven apartments were damaged.

“How did our new engine perform?” Commissioner Frank Orrell asked, regarding the truck the city approved for purchase last July. “Did it do everything we expected?”

“It performed very well,” Ames said. He responded, “And them some,” to the latter question.

But the city of Warrenton needs to plan on purchasing a ladder truck soon, Ames told the commission.

“If Astoria’s ladder truck hadn’t been available, we would have probably stood a pretty good chance of losing most of the second floor, of that particular building,” he said. “We’re getting to the point that with our community, the way it’s growing, we’re going to need to look seriously at purchasing our own in the very near future. There might not be another fire in a multi-family dwelling, two story, for another 10 years. I don’t know. But I don’t like taking those chances.

“The interesting thing is that Astoria’s wasn’t available the following day and Seaside’s was still down in Eugene for repairs. So we’re heavily dependent on two other departments for ariel devices and I think we’re growing to the point where we need to seriously look at getting our own before too much longer.”

The city’s draft budget does list money for truck purchase as a line item, but not until the 2015-16 fiscal year.

Ames said he hopes to set a bond vote in November 2014, with the commission’s permission.

A bond would help the department to buy a truck, but that would still take until November or December 2015 to be built and to arrive.

The possibility of a demo truck from one of the 10 companies in the United States that make ladder trucks, Ames said in response to a question from Commissioner Mark Baldwin.

The last truck purchased by the city was a demo version, giving the city a sizable discount.

As of now, Ames said a ladder truck would cost the city about $750,000. “This is a very expensive piece of equipment and it will have to serve us a long time,” he said.


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