Fire Department Getting 2 Trucks

The Ventura County Fire Department has spent nearly $400,000 for two large ladder trucks.

The trucks are operated by a helmsman in the cab and a second driver positioned high over the rear bumper.

Known as tractor-drawn aerials, the yellow vehicles are the first of that kind to be owned by the department, spokesman Joe Luna said. Various city departments have used the aerial trucks for years.

"We have never had the tillers [rear drivers] in Ventura County," Luna said.

"We have ladder trucks but not the kind where someone sits in back and steers."

The new trucks can maneuver through traffic more easily than standard ladder trucks and slide into tight quarters, such as narrow roads inside apartment complexes, fire officials said.

Each vehicle has a 105-foot steel ladder that is equipped with tubing and a nozzle to allow a firefighter to spray water from the top of the ladder, Luna said.

The vehicles are 59 feet long, 11 feet 4 inches tall and 8 feet wide. Each weighs nearly 60,000 pounds and can carry seven firefighters.

The trucks are receiving final inspections at the department's maintenance center in Camarillo and will be delivered to fire stations in Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks in about three weeks, fire officials said.

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