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Photo by Connor Raborn

READY TO SERVE -- Built in Florida and purchased through a Louisiana emergency vehicle dealership, Hammond Fire Department's new pumper truck holds over 1,000 gallons of water and replaces another pumper truck that is nearly 18 years old. It sat outside the department's central headquarters Monday.

by Connor Raborn reporter@hammondstar.com

Built just outside Sarasota, Florida, the pumper truck made one stop in Harvey, Louisiana, before arriving at its new home in Hammond over the weekend.

The brand new Pierce Saber fire truck has "E-11" emblazoned on one of its back doors, and it was parked at Hammond Fire Department's new central headquarters on Southwest Railroad Avenue Monday morning. The pumper, which will replace one of the agency's engines from 2000, is equipped to hold a little more than 1,000 gallons of water as well as all the usual firefighting accoutrements.

"It comes with basic equipment, but we'll still put some stuff in ourselves," Fire Chief John Thomas said.

The pumper is a base unit, a regular fire truck that matches the department's other trucks, he said.

One notable feature about the design was the department's decision to include a container for paramedic supplies that can be loaded and unloaded from within the truck's cabin or from an outer door.

This medical supply cache takes the place of a seat in the cabin, dropping the maximum rider capacity from six to five, but it will usually only need to hold two to three people on a normal call, Thomas said. The container's presence provides a medical supplies storage place more sanitary than the doors on the back of the truck.

The truck's back contains standard roll-up doors, an ax, a back-up camera, LED lights along the side and an electrical pump panel that gives throttle control to the operator, the chief said. Hammond firefighters will add hoses and a radio to the unit.

The Pierce Saber arrived in Hammond nine months after the fire department ordered it. Although it was built in Florida, the department bought it through dealer Siddons-Martin Emergency Group in Harvey for $420,000, Thomas said. The truck stopped in Harvey for inspection after leaving Florida.

"The plant makes this from a shell of metal and welds this all together, which is amazing when you think about it," Thomas said.

Before it is sent out on calls, the agency's staff will train on the new E-11 next Monday through Wednesday with representatives from the manufacturers. Therefore, it will reside at the central headquarters this week and early next week while the training proceeds.