Friday, February 01
Thanks to a $675,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Pittsfield Fire Department is set to replace its 34-year-old aerial ladder truck.

State officials announced the grant today in the newest wave of funding to strengthen the nation's fire response system.

Fire Chief James C. Sullivan Jr. said the money, which is allocated specifically for a new truck, deferred comment to the City of Pittsfield.

"This new piece of firefighting equipment will greatly enhance the firefighting capabilities of the Pittsfield Fire Department and provide a much greater level of protection for the citizens," said Mayor James M. Ruberto, who thanked Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Sen. John F. Kerry and U.S. Rep. John W. Olver for their assistance in obtaining the grant.

The Dalton Fire Department also received a $107,098 grant, which Chief Richard D. Kardasen said would be used to purchase new protective gear and breathing equipment.

"It's all about firefighter safety," said Kardasen. "As chief, my main concern is making sure that all of my people go home after a call. This will ensure the safety and well-being of our firefighters."

Kennedy said the grants will play a vital role the assurance of safety for both communities.

"By helping the fire department purchase needed new equipment, we're guaranteeing the resources to do their job effectively and keep our communities safe," he said in a statement. "We owe the brave men and women of the fire department an immense debt for their extraordinary service."

This award is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program to strengthen the preparedness of first responders across the country to deal with fires and other emergencies.

To reach Amy Carr: acarr@berkshireeagle.com, (413) 496-6233.