Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308
Friday, March 6, 2020 at 12:30 p.m.
It’s one of the Spokane Fire Department’s most conspicuous pieces of equipment.
Ladder 1 is 60 feet long. In order to negotiate tight turns and downtown traffic, Corey Newman has to steer the truck around corners from a rear cab known as the tiller.
“The unique thing about driving the back of this tiller ladder is, whenever we need to go left, I turn right. Whenever we need to right, I turn left,” explained Newman.
Ladder 1 is outfitted with an aerial ladder that can reach the top of a seven-story building. However, the interior of the truck is filled with an assortment of ground ladders up to 35 feet long.
Ladder 1’s versatility is the reason why it’s dispatched on so many runs, even though the call for service may not involve a high-rise.
“Ladder trucks, we’re kind of a big rolling toolbox. We have the big ladder on top, but we also have equipment for extrication,” said Newman.
Recently Newman was recording a video from the tiller’s cab when dispatchers sent Ladder 1 was to an activated fire alarm at a downtown hotel.
The Fusion 360 camera allows people, viewing the video, to look around and outside the cab, while Newman steered his truck to Second Avenue and Division Street.
“This building looks like it’s under construction. If it was an occupied hotel, all four of us would go inside and search, try and rescue people who might be trapped. That’s kinda the ladder’s primary job,” Newman said of the four fighters staffing Ladder 1.
“The tiller cage is the best view on the job and it’s a lot of fun driving around downtown and see people and the kids who are always excited to see it. A lot of waves and we try to wave back and honk if we can,” the eight - year veteran said with a smile.