MOUNTAIN GREEN — Members of the community and nearby fire departments gathered Saturday to christen a new ladder truck for the Mountain Green Fire Protection District.

For the small, volunteer fire department, the addition of a ladder truck — the second fire engine the department has — is a big deal.

Chief Brian Brendel, who leads the department, says he is extremely grateful for the new truck, especially in an area with newer, larger homes being built in recent years. The new engine provides a crucial asset to the department, ensuring they are prepared for whatever comes their way.

“Having this new, second engine is critically important to us, especially if it’s got the capabilities this does,” Brendel said Saturday.

The new truck carries medical and water rescue equipment in addition to the 500-gallon water tank on board.

Though the ladder truck has been in operation for roughly two months, Saturday’s christening was an event for the department.

With the help of fire units from the Uintah, Weber and Morgan fire departments, as well as trucks from the U.S. Forest Service, the new ladder truck underwent an old-school “wet-down” in which other fire units hosed down the newly commissioned ladder as a way to officially christen the truck.

Dozens of families attended the event, which included an open house for the department and activities for kids. One of which was playing the role of a firefighter, with kids being able to grab a smaller hose and put out targets shaped like fire and mounted on target stands.

Before the new ladder truck was christened with water Saturday, it was christened with fire when firefighters were called to an electrical fire at a home in the community of Peterson, just down the interstate and southeast of Mountain Green.

Brendel said the new ladder is a crucial tool for keeping the growing community safe. Before its arrival, if there was structure fire call that required a ladder, the nearest ladder truck would have to come from South Ogden, a trek of roughly 12 miles through Weber Canyon and into Mountain Green.

“The problem is they have an ambulance at that station, and if the ambulance goes out on a call, they pull two guys to put the ambulance out and one guy is left to run that ladder truck,” Brendel said. “Seconds count for us.”

Brendel said that before he lived in Utah, he was a career firefighter in Fairfax County, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. Brendel has had to tell people that their home was destroyed by fire, and it’s a feeling he hopes to avoid in the future with the new truck added to his department’s arsenal.

“I don’t want to have to stand out there and say, ‘if we only had a ladder that was this much longer,’” Brendel said.

The impact to the public safety of the small Morgan County community is tangible, but the impact to the community’s budget is lighter than one might expect.

Brendel explained that the new ladder truck was purchased from the North View Fire District, based in North Ogden. North View took excellent care of the truck before it was put on the market, Brendel said, including refurbishing the interior and adding a new computer system.

After a number of other departments around the state passed on purchasing the truck for different reasons, Brendel said his department was lucky enough to buy it for a fraction of its original purchase price.

The 2001 truck was purchased by the Mountain Green Fire Protection District for $50,000, Brendel said, despite the fact that the ladder was worth nearly $1 million when it was brand-new.

Regardless, Brendel is very pleased with the new addition to the department. Not even the Morgan County Fire Department has a ladder truck, so having the new asset in the county is huge, he says. Having the new ladder truck benefits everyone in his fire district, the county and beyond.

“It’s just a joy to be able to have the equipment that you need to be able to do the job,” Brendel said. “It’s just so important to me that we have the right stuff and the right staff so that we can help.”

Jacob Scholl is the Cops and Courts Reporter for the Standard-Examiner. Email him at jscholl@standard.net and follow him on Twitter at @Jacob_Scholl.

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