A flyover too low for normal fire engines

A flyover too low for normal fire engines

The city of Terrebonne had to shop as far away as Minnesota to find a fire truck that would provide better access to a sector of its territory where a freeway bridge is a problem.

The sector in question is Île Saint-Jean in the Rivière des Mille-Îles, where the maximum height under the Highway 25 bridge is 13 feet, a situation that slows firefighters’ work when every minute counts during a fire.

“I’ve seen fire trucks in Quebec snagging ladders under flyovers and completely destroying a ladder park [ensemble du système échelle]“Explained Sylvain Dufresne, Director of the Terrebonne Fire Brigade (SSIT), whom we met with the new truck under the Île Saint-Jean flyover.

“Hitting an overpass would result in approximately $125,000 in damages,” he added.

And repairing a ladder can take 6 to 9 months, according to Mr. Dufresne, which would result in one less vehicle in a city that answers about 2,000 calls a year.

“Normally, the transfers are a little higher,” emphasized the director of the fire brigade. With a [modèle] standard, it was necessary […] come down [la nacelle] and that affected the driver’s vision.”

And, he mentioned, “a fire truck still has a swing.” “The gondola will move a little when the driver is going at its slowest speed, so it could hit the viaduct.”

According to Mr Dufresne, it would still be possible to reach the Île Saint-Jean sector with a normal truck, “but you would have to go through Laval to return to our territory”.

The SSIT has therefore recently equipped itself with a low-platform ladder truck from the manufacturer Rosenbauer, which gives the vehicle and its equipment an additional 8 inches of maneuvering space.

A flyover too low for normal fire trucks

Simon Dessureault / QMI AGENCY

According to Mr. Dufresne, acquiring such a truck would be a first in Canada.

“The low profile, I hadn’t seen that in my 32-year career,” he told us. I think it’s a product that reflects the realities of Quebec fire departments.”

To carry out this acquisition, SSIT sent a team to Minnesota to the American subsidiary of the Austrian manufacturer of fire-fighting vehicles, Rosenbauer. In addition to the low-profile truck, the department purchased three other trucks from this company for a total of $5.1 million.

In addition, SSIT is currently bidding on a new pumper to be delivered in 2025 to replace obsolete equipment.