NEW TAMPA — There's a new firefighting crew in town and it has its own ladder truck to assist it.
Tampa Fire Rescue this week celebrated the addition of a ladder truck to Station 21, at Green Pine Lane off of Cross Creek Boulevard.
This makes Station 21 the fifth fire station in the city to have a ladder truck, which helps firefighters work from higher elevations. Prior to securing the ladder truck, the nearest station with one was Station 13 near Busch Boulevard and 30th Street, approximately 14 miles away.
"A few years ago, we realized the need for a ladder truck in (New Tampa)," said Tampa fire Lt. Danielle Spradlin. "The goal for response time was six to eight minutes. The next responding company was 18 minutes away."
Last year, the station responded to 416 fire-related calls and 1,753 medical-related calls.
New personnel — nine firefighters, three drivers and three captains — will be assigned to the ladder truck over three different shifts, Spradlin said.
The fire department was awarded a $5 million federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response, or SAFER, grant last year that will cover most of the department staffing. The city will cover about $70,000 this year.
The truck has been at Station 21 since 2005 as a dual truck, working as both a ladder truck and fire truck. It was retrofitted and officially unveiled as strictly a ladder truck on Sunday.
Dong-Phuong Nguyen can be reached at (813) 909-4613 or email@example.com.