The Liberty Fire Department has used its new aerial fire truck at several fires since taking delivery of the vehicle in May.

"Ten days after we got it, we used it on a structure fire in Thorndike," Fire Chief Bill Gillespie said.

He went on to say the old ladder truck was a "50-foot Telesquirt," able to reach a distance that, over the years, turned out to be "a little short."

The new ladder truck, by comparison, is a "75-foot E-ONE Typhoon Aerial Quint," which serves the dual purpose of an engine and a ladder truck.

The Typhoon joins three other trucks housed at the station near the corner of Routes 220 and 3. According to Gillespie, the department's fleet consists of the new aerial truck, a tanker truck, a forestry truck and a pickup.

Three years ago, Gillespie started doing some "spec'ing," on new vehicles. "When we purchased the previous truck, we had a plan to replace it in eight years," he said.

The new truck is totally custom and was brand new from the factory that built it in Ocala, Florida.

Truck specs listed on the E-ONE website indicate the truck has a 75-foot welded extruded aluminum ladder with a 550-pound tip load. The chassis is also extruded aluminum. Under the hood is a Cummins 450 horsepower engine.

The truck is also equipped with a 470-gallon water tank and uses a side Hale Qmax 1,500-gallon-per-minute pump.

According to Gillespie, it takes a year to build, and the E-ONE plant has over 100 trucks in production at the same time. The total price was $600,000.

"We started saving for it about eight years ago and we financed a portion of it," he said.

It has made a big difference in the community, Gillespie said. "It's been utilized."

With the new truck, the chief said, firefighters are able to reach as high as a church steeple or a five-story building.

In the recent garage fire on Route 17 in Washington, Chief Phil Meunier of the Washington Fire Department left room to position "our truck and to hit it with the aerial gun," Gillespie said.

"There was a lot of burnable material — there was a lot of fuel," he said.

According to Gillespie, Chief Meunier said "we were able to get out of there a lot quicker than the way we would have done it."