Crossett Fire Department dedicates new ladder truck

Community members, Crossett firefighters and elected officials push the new Crossett fire truck into the bay at the Main Street station. Georgia Pacific purchased the truck on behalf of the city as part of a consent order that emerged out of an Environmental Protection Agency enforcement action. (VAL GAUGHT/News Observer)

The Crossett Fire Department hosted a “Push-In” ceremony Monday for a new 100-foot E-One Platform ladder fire truck.

 Georgia Pacific of Crossett purchased the truck in full.

The truck was something that the city government had planned to purchase in 2019 in order to adequately cover some of the larger buildings in the city’s coverage area, but the purchase had to be put on hold at the time. 

When Fire Chief Bo Highinbotham approached the council in 2019 about the purchase he had found a demo available for a discounted price. 

Mayor Crystal Marshall — who was on the city council at the time —  said that she had researched the topic extensively and having a truck with a 100-foot ladder  was a resource that the City of Crossett needs to protect the citizens. 

“Think about rescue from the hospital or hotel, rescue from apartment buildings,” Marshall said. “Our big new school and two story homes and protecting all of our citizens and their investments. We have several apartments and I was shocked how many structures needed it once I understood the criteria.” 

The new truck can hold 10 firefighters and it allows for the team to get on top of the fire, unmanned, to extinguish it.

Higginbotham said during the ceremony that the truck will be used for all types of fires but mostly on tall structures. 

“It will be used to help people in those taller structures escape like the new hotel or the hospital and some places at GP and our chemical plant,” Higginbotham said. 

“We will also be using it for rescue like high angle and confined space.”

Members of the community and city council showed up to welcome the new truck with a push-in ceremony, during which they actually pushed the truck into its bay. 

Higginbotham said the ceremony dates back more than 100 years to a time before fire trucks were motorized and were operated with horse drawn equipment. In those days, firefighters had to actually push their trucks into the station after a call.

“This is a tremendous win for the citizens of Crossett and Ashley county; we are all measurably safer and better protected with this truck in our arsenal,” Marshall said. 

The purchase was undertaken in connection with the settlement of an enforcement action, United States v. Georgia-Pacific Chemicals LLC and Georgia Pacific Consumer Operations LLC, taken on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment, Division of Environmental Quality under the Clean Air Act.

GP agreed to purchase the truck as part of its community reinvestment portion of the consent decree that resulted from the enforcement action.

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