The town of Longboat Key paid $850,000 for the new fire truck.
Longboat Key’s new fire truck is officially in service.
The Longboat Key Fire Rescue Department held a dedication ceremony Monday afternoon to roll the $850,000 truck into the bay of the north-end fire station at 5490 Gulf of Mexico Drive.
“It takes a long time and a lot of work behind the scenes before the truck is actually delivered and can go into service, but it’s also an exciting day for the community as well,” Town Manager Tom Harmer said. “This is a big deal. The protection that you provide to the community, I think, is well received.”
It was about a yearlong process to finally begin using the new custom-made new truck, which replaces the town’s 2003 model. Though the ladder truck ceremonially went into service on Monday, it has been answering calls off and on since late December.
Harmer and several town leaders attended Monday’s ceremony. It included Fire Chief Paul Dezzi and Deputy Fire Chief Chris Krajic, who was instrumental in the purchasing of the truck.
“It was a team effort and [I] couldn’t have done it with you guys,” Krajic said.
Krajic is set to retire with his last day on Jan. 13.
“One of the things Chief Krajic told me was that he wasn’t going to retire until this was project was done, so if you want to go home today, you can,” Dezzi joked.
Mayor Ken Schneier shared a funny story of a conversation he had with his son about the town’s new truck. Schneier’s son is a firefighter in Colorado.
“I told him months and months ago that we had ordered a new truck, and he was very excited,” Schneier said. “And, he said, ‘I assume once it comes in, you’ll have a ceremony where you push it into the bay.’
“So I didn’t want to feel like an idiot, so I said, ‘Well, of course we’re going to have a ceremony,’ but I was thinking, ‘New truck, and I know they get wet, but pushing it into the bay, seems like a silly thing, saltwater and all that.’
“Fortunately, when I mentioned it to Tom [Harmer], with all his fire experience, he was able to tell me that it was being pushed into this bay, and not into that [Sarasota] Bay.”