Whitehall-Coplay Press

Saturday, February 16, 2019
PRESS PHOTOS BY KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMSDennis Scholtis, Whitehall Township Fire Department safety officer (left), and Justin Benner, assistant chief, show off the new 2018 Pierce pumper truck at the Egypt station. PRESS PHOTOS BY KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMSDennis Scholtis, Whitehall Township Fire Department safety officer (left), and Justin Benner, assistant chief, show off the new 2018 Pierce pumper truck at the Egypt station.
Fire Chief David Nelson stands by his new vehicle, which was put into service in November 2018. Fire Chief David Nelson stands by his new vehicle, which was put into service in November 2018.

Station gets new firetruck

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS Special to The Press in Local News

Engine 3911 dedicated to the late Robert Benner

Whitehall Township Fire Department is officially the owner of a new pumper truck for the Egypt station. The new apparatus, designated as Engine 3911, is a 2018 Pierce pumper, which pumps 1,500 gallons per minute and has a 750-gallon reserve water tank.

It replaces a 1999 Kovatch pumper.

The new pumper, which cost approximately $650,000, is one of seven fire engines operated by the township department.

Township Fire Chief David Nelson said the department has a fire engine, including two aerial trucks, at each of its five fire stations — Fullerton (Station 36), West Catasauqua (Station 37), Hokendauqua (Station 38), Egypt (Station 39) and Cementon (Station 40). He said the other two engines are backup vehicles.

Egypt Assistant Chief Justin Benner said the pumper, which was put into service in November 2018, has already responded to a working apartment fire.

He said a truck design committee, made up of Capt. Michael Hartranft, Lt. Sean Mohn, Ryan Rader, Ray Dankel, Tom Shoemaker, Aaron Schock and himself, spent the past year-and-a-half planning and preparing for the truck.

“The design committee did a really good job,” Nelson said. “I’m really happy about it. It’s very firefighter friendly.”

Nelson said the committee laid out compartments for maximum efficiency and storage. The truck, which holds six firefighters, is expected to last around 15 years.

The new truck is dedicated to the memory of the late Robert L. Benner, who headed the township’s volunteer fire department for 30 years and died in 2016. Justin Benner is his grandson.

It is only the second new fire apparatus in the township since 2009. In 2017, a new pumper was put into service at the West Catasauqua station.

Nelson said the department is working with the township on a 10-year plan to update fire equipment.

In December 2018, the township commissioners approved a five-year township capital improvement program for years 2019-23 that includes more than $2.5 million in new fire equipment. Included in the plan is a brush truck costing $155,000 for 2019; an aerial ladder firetruck for $1.5 million in 2020; a fire department troop carrier truck for $85,000 in 2021; a pumper truck for $600,000 in 2022; and a fire department troop carrier truck for $95,000 in 2023.

Also put into service in November 2018 was a new fire chief vehicle for Nelson. It is a 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe with full command box in the back, costing around $70,000.