TIME TO GET WET

sb-firetruckSea Bright Fire Department’s newest addition. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Since buying a new fire truck this summer, Sea Bright’s fire department has put it to work, dumping water on fires from Monmouth Beach to Highlands.

Now it’s time for the department’s ladder truck to get wet.

On Saturday, the department will initiate its half-million dollar apparatus with a wet-down at the station, replete with typical firehouse party stuff: food, drinks and a pig on a spit.

Saturday’s wet-down is a few years in the making.

The new truck was put on order in 2007, but a bankruptcy filing by American LaFrance, the company Sea Bright chose to manufacture the truck, delayed the purchase. Once the company regained its financial footing, Sea Bright was in business to replace its 1982 apparatus.

“It was time for an upgrade,” said John Sanders, a lieutenant with the volunteer company.”Everything is new on this truck.”

This truck has all the bells and whistles to fit Sea Bright, which, being a seaside town, requires some special amenities. To start, the ladder is made of steel to handle the high winds coming off the ocean. The storage compartments have doors that roll up rather than swing out since there are a lot of narrow passages in town. It also sits a little higher off the ground than most trucks so it can navigate through flood waters, a trademark of Sea Bright.

“The first thing, right off the bat, it helps the citizens of Sea Bright,” Sanders said, pointing out the 75-foot ladder. “We have a lot of condos with setbacks, and with the new construction today there’s a lot of places where you need to get on roofs.”

Tomorrow’s party starts at 1p at the firehouse, where a bottle of champagne will be broken across the front of the truck, “and they squirt a little water on it, like a baptism,” Sanders said. A new EMS truck will also get baptized, too.