Anthracite Steam truck finally home in Mount Carmel
MOUNT CARMEL - The new ladder truck of Anthracite Steam and Fire Company is finally home inside the newly-constructed garage on North Market Street near the town park.
Jack Williams Jr., Mount Carmel Fire Department second assistant fire chief, said Monday the 11-foot, 8-inch-tall unit was brought into the facility Saturday. The truck room was renovated to add approximately three inches of clearance for the large truck, bringing an end to more than four years of stress.
The 2011 KME Arielcat, which has a ladder that can extend to 100 feet, was built to 2010 National Fire Protection Agency standards and, as a result, was too tall for Anthracite's original station. Anthracite officials went ahead with the purchase, knowing they would have lost $500,000 in grant money had they not purchased the $700,000 truck when they did.
The truck was stored at the Mount Carmel Rescue Squad truck room since October 2010.
"I don't think anybody knows how difficult it is to have the two trucks (the ladder and the pumper truck) apart. It was a huge inconvenience for our own personnel and Rescue Squad's personnel," Williams said Monday.
Lowering the floor
After considerable debate, including not altering the unique look of the Anthracite building, Mid-Penn Engineering, Lewisburg, devised a plan: fill in the basement area below the Anthracite two-bay truck room and lower the floor by two feet.
During the renovations that started July 8, Anthracite's pumper truck was housed in a building owned by Joseph Stutz at Fourth and Orange streets. Stutz didn't charge Anthracite, nor did the rescue squad.
"I thank him (Stutz) and the Rescue Squad for their patience and generosity for letting us keep our vehicles there," Williams said.
The project was delayed while workers painted and installed trim and garage doors. It took time for the concrete to harden also. Even now, Williams said there's a few minor details that still need to be addressed, but not enough to keep the truck out.
Jack Williams Sr., a former chief for 30 years, and crew members from Robert Feaster Corp., Northumberland, were working on these details Monday afternoon.
"I'm glad it's in the garage. This caused a number of headaches for us," Williams said.
The older Williams said he has spent a lot of time at the fire company working on the project in the last three months and he's grateful he'll soon be able to spend more quality time with his wife.
The trucks being in two different areas caused confusion among members, he said.
"It's all here now, the way it was before," he said.
Damage at Rescue
During the truck's stay at the Rescue Squad, the 76,500-pound vehicle damaged the 8-inch thick, non-reinforced concrete slabs outside the garage doors at the rescue station, located at Second and Walnut streets. The largest vehicle the rescue squad has weighs 27,000 pounds.
Williams Jr. said the Anthracite members have been concentrating on the renovations, but they will help the Rescue Squad with repairs in any way they can.
Borough President Tony Matulewicz said the housing of the truck is a "weight off council's shoulders."
"We are thrilled the truck is in there, absolutely thrilled it's over and done with," he said.
Council members and Anthracite members have previously clashed over the plans for the fire company building, but the final plan was agreed upon by all parties involved.
In January, borough council also approved a resolution to loan the fire company $188,000. The 10-year loan at an annual interest rate of 1 percent helped pay off another $101,000 loan for the ladder truck, and the rest is being put toward the renovation work, which was estimated at $137,000. Anthracite put up the rest of the money for the project.
Anthracite will be paying $19,780 a year on the $188,000 loan.
A dedication ceremony will be held in May when the weather is nicer and the finishing touches are completed, Williams said.