Atlanta City Council says city needs more ambitious plan to replace fire ladder trucks

An Atlanta City Council member said plans to improve equipment used by the city’s firefighters need to be more ambitious.

Dustin Hillis, the former chairman of the public safety panel, is concerned that one-quarter of the city’s fleet of rescue ladder trucks go down, sometimes daily.

The massive trucks, which cost more than a million dollars, are used to fight a fire from the air as well as rescue residents from upper floors.

Hillis became aware of firefighters' complaints about those trucks. Every piece of equipment goes through a maintenance check first thing in the morning. But later that same day, the same truck has failed during an incident. The fire officer attempts to raise the ladder, only to see it get stuck.

"We have the funds to purchase the equipment," said Smith. "We will be giving that information to fleet services."

But Hillis saw that just one ladder truck is on the chief’s list for the year.

"One truck is not enough," the councilman said. "That’s not going to cut it."

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