The Eastpointe Fire Department’s brand-new ladder truck was delivered March 8.

The Eastpointe Fire Department’s brand-new ladder truck was delivered March 8.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

Brand-new firetruck arrives in Eastpointe

By: Maria Allard | Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider | Published March 15, 2024


EASTPOINTE — With its emergency lights flashing and a crowd of people gathering, Eastpointe’s brand-new firetruck arrived at the station the morning of March 8.

The state-of-the-art vehicle was purchased for $1.3 million from contractor Payette Fire Truck Sales and Service in Grosse Ile. The new truck was made by Kovatch Mobile Equipment, better known as KME, headquartered in Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania.

The new mid-mount platform truck was built from scratch, and money from the city’s general fund was used to purchase the vehicle. The new truck will replace the city’s 1998 ladder truck.

The onlookers, many of them firefighters and city administrators, took videos of the new truck as it made its way to the station, 16370 Nine Mile Road. Mayor Pro Tem Cardi DeMonaco Jr. and City Council member Harvey Curley attended the unveiling.

“Isn’t it beautiful? I’m just thrilled. I am excited for the city,” Curley said. “The whole staff has been waiting three years for this. The city should be proud of the firehouse and all the guys that work there.”

During the morning, fire chaplain Kevin Lancaster offered a blessing.

“In Jesus’ name, I ask that you grant your grace to our firefighters who will drive and operate this new engine and protect them from harm,” Lancaster said. “We ask to accept this engine so that it may serve our community.”

Securing the new 102-foot ladder truck took almost four years. A committee that consisted of Battalion Chief Joe Zangara, Sgt. Mike Szczesniak and firefighter James Heinzman researched various companies to select the right vehicle for the city.

“We started the process in August 2020,” Fire Chief Brian Marquardt said. “The guys said, ‘Let’s figure out what we want and what we need.’ They did an outstanding job.”

The firefighters looked for several features, including a truck that had greater drivability,  the ability to navigate narrow areas, and a quicker setup capacity. The bucket attached to the ladder is much larger than the department’s previous model. Ladder trucks are used for fighting fires, high rescue operations and aerial suppression.

Not only does the ladder rise up into the air, but it also can be lowered to the ground if necessary. The new ladder truck has several technological updates not available on the old truck. One such feature is the remote control that will maneuver the water nozzles.

In January 2021, the City Council approved the purchase of the new truck. The vehicle is red in color with a black stripe in the middle and a green shamrock in honor of Eastpointe detailed on the back. Alongside the ladder apparatus reads “Eastpointe” and “Proudly serving our community since 1921.”

As the vehicle was being built, Marquardt traveled to Pennsylvania on two occasions to check on its progress. The new truck was built to last for 25 years. Prior to its delivery, the truck underwent a detailed inspection.

“I think it’s great. I’m glad to be able to be a part of it,” Marquardt said. “We were happy the council approved the purchase.”

Before using the new truck, all the department’s firefighters will be trained on it, which should take one month. Staff also will transfer tools, radios and other equipment from the 1998 vehicle into the new vehicle.

“Then we’ll be ready to go,” Marquardt said.

The Fire Department has two fire engine trucks in use: one purchased in 2004 and the other in 2006. The 1998 model will most likely be sold at auction or possibly donated to a college or a city.