New Cedar Rapids fire truck can do a wheelie, saving lives - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New Cedar Rapids fire truck can do a wheelie, saving lives

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Cedar Rapids firefighters show off the new Truck 1's capabilities. Cedar Rapids firefighters show off the new Truck 1's capabilities.
The new truck can raise and lower the basket to do rescues. The new truck can raise and lower the basket to do rescues.
KWWL's Michelle Corless took a ride in the truck's basket to the top. It goes a story higher than the old truck did. KWWL's Michelle Corless took a ride in the truck's basket to the top. It goes a story higher than the old truck did.
CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - One eastern Iowa city just dropped almost $1 million on a new fire truck, which can do something most people have probably never seen.

It's the first new ladder truck Cedar Rapids has bought in 17 years, and new technology has made it possible for this one to do something pretty unique.

The fire truck looks like it's popping a wheelie. But it's not just a fun trick.

It helps the Cedar Rapids Fire Department put the basket lower than the truck, which will help with low-angle rescues.

"It helps us out here in Cedar Rapids because, for instance, we have the roller dam over the river," said Brian Gibson, Battalion Chief. "We can set the truck up to the side, and we can actually go out 100 feet out over that roller dam and lower that basket out over the boil of the dam and possibly save somebody out of that boil."

It's also more friendly for drivers, with a lot of technology to help them stay safe on the road. The truck deploys faster -- meaning better response times.

KWWL took a camera up into the truck's basket and got to go up as high as the ladder will go -- about a story higher than the old ladder truck could. That's helpful, as the city has more than 60 buildings labeled as "high-rises."

The truck runs almost $1 million dollars. Nobody opposed the purchase when the city council approved it, but taxpayers we talked to had mixed feelings.

"It could be used on other things, like fixing the streets," said Jenni Nading.

"The one person that we save, I think, is going to make up the difference in that cost," said Allen Hawkins.

As for firefighters, they're glad the city gave them this chance to custom build a truck that will help them save lives.

"We don't wish any will ill on anybody, but we're ready there in case anybody needs us," said Gibson.

The fire department has been using the new truck for about a month.  The old truck one is now a reserve vehicle should the new one need to go in for repairs.

Firefighters say trucks should be replaced about every 15 years. There are nine fire stations in Cedar Rapids. The city tries to replace one truck per year.

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