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Bristol Fire Department gets new ambulance, aerial fire truck

BRISTOL, Ind. -- The Bristol fire department is celebrating 135 years in the community with a brand new ambulance and an aerial truck.

Bristol firefighters and EMTs who work at the Bristol Fire Department will now be able to better help the community and even help future firefighters with their training.

Since 1883, the Bristol Fire Department has been serving the town of Bristol, Washington Township, and the West end of York Township.

But lately, they’ve been having to rely on other fire departments.

“We noticed that the city fathers had been bringing in a lot of commercial businesses to Bristol,” said Dennis Swartz, Assistant Chief for the Bristol Fire Department. “So we investigated, and our old ladder truck did not meet the needs for the tall commercial buildings.”

Swartz tells ABC 57 News roughly 20 percent of the fires this year could have been handled better if the department had an aerial fire truck because of the height of the buildings.

Swartz adds that the fire department would not have to “wait on mutual aid, another department with an aerial to come and assist us.

We would have had [the aerial truck] at our disposal right away.

According to Swartz, Tower 83, the new fire truck, will help extinguish fires quicker.

ABC 57's Shannon Litton was able to go inside the platform of Tower 83, which can hold up to four firefighters.

The platform is able to go up to 95 feet into the air, compared to Ladder 1, the old fire truck, which can only go 55 feet into the air.

Firefighters tell ABC 57 they are super excited to have this new piece of equipment.

“I’m very excited,” said TJ Longacre, a firefighter and EMT for the Bristol Fire Department. “I spent a lot of time working on this truck.”

Ladder 1 is now being donated to the Elkhart Career Center Firefighter Program where trainees will get a more realistic look at what they will be facing as firefighters.

“There’s no question of the advantage,” said Assistant Chief Swartz.

TJ Longacre believes the donation of Ladder 1 will help produce better firefighters and better training.

Assistant Chief Swartz tells ABC 57 News the department has the best equipment it has ever had and that Tower 83, the new aerial truck, exemplifies just that.

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