Council approves purchase of ladder truck

The previously owned truck will be acquired from the City of Ketchikan for no more than $230,000

The Homer Volunteer Fire Department will soon be gaining a new addition to its fleet.

During their regular meeting on Monday, May 8, the Homer City Council adopted Ordinance 23-22, appropriating funds “for the purpose of purchasing, refurbishing, and transporting a ladder truck” for the fire department.

According to the ordinance, Homer’s “fire fleet is aging and in need of many replacements, upgrades, and additions to include a ladder truck.” A new ladder truck could cost up to $1.6 million and take up to two years to be delivered, the ordinance states. HVFD Chief Mark Kirko found a creative solution to the fleet’s needs in the purchase of a used ladder truck.

The previously owned truck will be acquired from the City of Ketchikan for no more than $230,000. The purchase from Ketchikan is able to “fill [the fire department’s] needs in a very economical way” both time-wise and financially, according to a financial supplement to the ordinance.

Council member Shelly Erickson praised Kirko, who was present at the May 8 meeting, for “thinking outside the box” in order to find a ladder truck for the city’s use.

The supplement also states that Homer’s “fire chief has taken care to evaluate the ladder truck and worked with specialists to conduct inspections on the vehicle.” According to an April 24 agenda item report related to the ordinance, the truck is “in very good condition” and needs “little work” in order to be a “viable” unit in HVFD’s fleet for several more years.

“I’m not a big proponent of buying very intricate vehicles that are previously owned,” Kirko said at the council meeting. “However, this one is so much outside the normal. It is in really, really good condition, even though it’s aged …. We’re looking forward to having it in service, and I think it’s going to serve the community really well for years to come.”

The ladder truck will also replace HVFD’s heavy rescue truck, Rescue 1, which the department will “surplus out,” Kirko told the council.