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WHAT IS THAT? It's the new fire truck keeping you safe in Fort Myers

This special hook-and-ladder truck is no joke.
Posted at 9:08 PM, Jun 17, 2024

FORT MYERS, FLA. — Tiller truck, tractor-drawn aerial, tiller ladder, or hook-and-ladder.

Whatever you call it, it will be on the streets of Ft Myers as soon as August.

"In emergency services, it's all about speed," said Fire Chief Tracy McMillion." It's all about quickness. Time really, really is essential."

The shiny new $1.7 million vehicle is essentially a specialized turntable ladder mounted on a semi-trailer truck.

Miyoshi Price Hook and ladder fire
FOX 4's Ft Myers Community Correspondent Miyoshi Price climbed aboard for a brief ride in a nearly $2 million hook and ladder truck acquired by the city to further improve their response to any high rises or other incidents.

"This truck has an amazing ability to navigate," said Chief McMillion. "It can maneuver, and it's 107 feet in which can go up in the air to help us fight fire."

Also, what's old is new again.

The last time Ft Myers had a hook-and-ladder truck was 1926. Some of you might remember those old-timey, black-and-white movies, where a fire truck had two drivers, one in the front, and one in the back by the ladder.

Well, the same applies here.

Click to see what it takes to turn the new hook and ladder truck

WATCH: What it takes to turn the new hook and ladder truck in Fort Myers

"It actually articulates with two drivers, and having two drivers can actually make really tight turns," said Chief McMillion. "Some have said that wherever an Ford F150 can go, this truck can turn in that same area."

Engineer EMT Wesley Wilkinson is one of seven people certified to drive this truck in the department. He says it helps him respond to calls faster, especially on narrow streets.

"Driving downtown, driving our tight river districts, getting on scene, it helps us position the truck a lot better, and we can do a lot more functions than a normal truck would be able to do," said Wilkinson.

And if you noticed the red and black color scheme, that's on purpose too.

Miyoshi Price and fire chief Tracy McMillon
Ft Myers Fire Chief Tracy McMillion shows his Ft Myers Community Correspondent Miyoshi Price around the city's new $1.7 million dollar hook and ladder truck. The red and black paint scheme is different from the red and white of the other city fire vehicles because of its specialized functions.

"Another specialty truck that we have coming sometime in the next two years is the first hazmat heavy truck in our area, which will have the same color scheme. So our specialty trucks... will actually stand out," Chief McMillion said.