Having pinched their pennies for the last eight years to afford it, the Ledgedale Volunteer Fire Company is now the proud owner of the area’s newest firefighting apparatus, a brand new 2009 Freightliner tanker.


Having pinched their pennies for the last eight years to afford it, the Ledgedale Volunteer Fire Company is now the proud owner of the area’s newest firefighting apparatus, a brand new 2009 Freightliner tanker.

With $100,000 saved from years of boot drops, turkey feasts, and other fundraising efforts as well as a $99,000 low interest loan from a state agency, the new tanker will replace a 1978 GMC that served the company well for decades, but is old, tired and ready to be put out to pasture.

“This new tanker meets all the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) guidelines for 2009, and a lot of features our old tanker didn’t have,” said Fire Chief Tom Sledzinski, “We’ve already had it out on three calls so far, and it makes a huge difference over our old one. This one can climb hills with no problem, get there fast, and attack the fire a lot easier.”

Among the features that allow the new 2000 gallon tanker to attack those fires, the crew explained, is the capability to control the pumpworks while on the move, something they could never do before. With this technology, the driver of the vehicle doesn’t have to get out to run the pumps, which they say allows them to spray and drive at the same time, a great feature during brushfires especially.

“It took a lot of time and work to get it, but we’re proud of it,” said Company President Vincent DeVita. “And it’s still got that new car smell.”

Representatives of Lakeville Fire Company and Hamlin Fire and Rescue came with their fire engines to give the new tanker its customary bath, formally welcoming it into the area’s firefighting community.

The fire company also recently purchased a side scan sonar system that will allow their dive team to conduct much more thorough and extensive water rescues, explained Dive Captain Joe Sledzinski. “As the only certified dive team in Wayne County,” He said. “We’ve already got a lot of experience doing rescues and recoveries, including evidence recoveries for the state police. In the past, we’ve done a lot of that kind of work with our underwater cameras, which is hard. This new sonar is specifically designed for rescue operations, and the resolution is amazing. it can look straight down and at 90 degree angles, so it will make recoveries a lot easier.”

The next piece of equipment the company would like to replace is their 1986 Chevy supply truck, though they admit gathering the money will take some time.

“This is all funded by us,” said DeVita, “It took us eight years to get the money together for the new tanker, just from mailings and all our other fundraisers. We really appreciate it when those mailings come back from the people we work to protect. Now we’ll start saving for the next apparatus.”