Castle Rock celebrates new fire truck

Custom-made ‘quint’ replaces 19-year-old rig

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It wasn’t 10 minutes after the Castle Rock Fire Department ceremoniously backed its new, $826,000, 2012 custom-built “quint” truck into the garage at Fire Station No. 155 before it was pulling out of the station for its first call.

It happened so quickly that some of the firefighters on board didn’t even have time to eat their celebratory cake or finish showing Castle Rock citizens some of the rig’s shiny new features during the June 8 ceremony.

The new rig, which was built to CRFD specs by industry leader KME out of Pennsylvania, replaces “Christine,” a 1994 quint that up until 2003 was the only ladder truck in all of Castle Rock. Like all quints, the new ride has five functions, including a pump, a water tank, fire hose, an aerial ladder and ground ladders.

“The truck was designed to be as safe, number one, and as user-friendly, number two, as possible,” said Lt. Oren Bersagel-Briese.

The truck features the strongest aerial ladder on the market, can withstand up to 100,000 pounds of pressure on the cab if it rolls, was designed specifically for Castle Rock’s hilly terrain and is the first fire truck in the department to feature air bags.

Complete with a 475-horsepower diesel engine, the new rig boasts six ladders, compared with Christine’s five, with increased length and decreased weight to provide more flexibility for firefighters.

It is also equipped with advanced life support and has space on board for a medic to ride along at all times, which Chief Art Morales said is extremely important as 70 percent of the department’s calls involve medical emergencies.

“It’s been a long journey for us to put this together,” Morales said, in a ceremony that also bid adieu to a rig that served Castle Rock for 98,000 miles and three decades.

“It’s kind of sad in a way,” Oren said about the old truck, which had gone out on thousands of calls. “For the last 19 years, it has done its best to protect the citizens of Castle Rock. But it is time for it to find a new home, and serve another community.”

The old truck, which will be sold at auction, picked up the nickname Christine after another department was testing it in 1998 and fried its circuit board.

“It sort of had a mind of its own after that,” Morales said.