Millvale VFD gets $625K firetruck ahead of schedule
Monday, March 2, 2020 | 11:00 PM
The Millvale community gathered last month to welcome the Millvale Volunteer Fire Department’s new Rosenbauer firetruck’s arrival from the company’s South Dakota headquarters.
The truck paraded through town with its sirens blaring. Once the truck arrived at the station, residents and members of neighboring fire companies convened for a dedication ceremony.
“All the firemen and everything were real excited because it’s been a struggle to find a truck that fit the borough’s needs,” Millvale fire Chief Karl Cavanaugh said.
He discovered the 2016 demo truck, never used to fight fires, on firetruck company Rosenbauer’s Facebook page. It cost $625,000.
“If we would have speced that truck, it would have cost way more than a million dollars,” said Cavanaugh.
The vehicle replaces a 57-year-old American LaFrance ladder truck that was starting to cost the department money to keep in service and raised some safety issues, Cavanaugh said. It is for sale through the department, should a collector wish to purchase it.
Millvale said goodbye last summer to the ladder truck by designating it the Millvale Days Parade grand marshal.
According to Cavanaugh, the Rosenbauer truck is an upgrade for the department’s 25 firefighters and fire police for the following reasons: It contains state-of-the-art safety features, a built-in water pump and two outriggers to stabilize the vehicle, a closed cab, so firefighters aren’t exposed to the elements, and room for more firefighters and storage.
The department’s firefighters are completing manufacturer training on the new truck, with the goal of moving it into service in three weeks, Cavanaugh said. In the meantime, the department will use its 2005 pumper truck to fight fires.
The volunteer fire company fundraised for the truck and its other operating expenses through its annual calendar and raffle ticket sale, cash bash, fund drive, holiday drink tour and events at local bars. Cavanaugh said the department will use a $13,015 Fire Company and Emergency Medical Service Grant from the Pennsylvania Office of the State Fire Commission (OSFC) for new truck equipment such as a hose, flashlights and intake valves.
The department faced another issue in addition to securing funds for the vehicle’s purchase – how the truck would fit inside the fire station’s garage.
Millvale Manager Eddie Figas said that Gateway Engineers and Uhl Construction collaborated on raising the garage door and roof in the bay housing the new truck. “The real work was done underneath in securing the floor weight of the truck,” he said, noting that the Rosenbauer weighs 50,000 pounds compared to the previous 32,000-pound truck.
As the $150,000 garage upgrades progressed, Cavanaugh worked with Rosenbauer to acquire the truck sooner than anticipated. Officials needed to adjust the timeline for the garage renovations, as a result.
“It was pretty amazing, considering it was a yearlong project done in just five months,” Figas said. “The contractor, engineer and our public works staff enabled that to happen.”
The Millvale Volunteer Fire Department accepts donations at the borough office, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 501 Lincoln Ave.