“In Memory of Captain A. Voight” are the words emblazoned on the side of the Oak Park Fire Department’s new $800,000-plus fire truck.
The tribute is in honor of Albert Voight, one of three firefighters who have died in the line of duty in the fire department’s history.
The new 95-foot Cyclone truck, built in Ocala, Florida, by fire rescue vehicle manufacturer E-One, hit the streets this week.
Fire Chief Tom Ebsen said the truck was specially built with a low-profile chassis, so it can traverse viaducts of various heights throughout the village. He said chassis design for fire trucks are getting bigger, making it more difficult to get low clearance because of emissions equipment requirements that cleans diesel exhaust.
He said the old fire truck has been sold to Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, for about $170,000.
New truck has a smaller “jacking system,” which extends from the sides and back of the vehicle to stabilize it while fighting fires. The new jacks have a 12-foot wingspan, compared to 20-foot for the old fire truck.
“Another big advantage [with the new truck] is the aerial ladder is solid aluminum, so it never rusts, plus it’s lighter,” Ebsen said.
He said the truck, which is expected to respond to roughly 20 to 30 structure fires a year, is estimated to have a lifespan of about 15 years. He said that in 2013, the old fire truck was called out about 190 times.
Deputy Chief Ken Klemm said that unlike the old truck, known as a quint, the new truck does not have a pump. The additional space on the new truck, however, will provide more cabinet space for rescue, ventilation and extraction equipment.
“On our other truck we were maxed out for space,” Klemm said.
Ebsen said the tribute to fallen firefighter Voight is common on fire department vehicles. Voight, died in 1953 at the age of 46, while “on the scene of an inhalator call when he suffered a heart attack,” according to information provided by the fire department.
He was the second firefighter to die in the line of duty.
Gus Camphausen was the first in 1926, when he was thrown from the rear step of a fire engine when it collided with an automobile at the corner of Superior and Euclid. He was 35.
Lieutenant Patrick Luby was the third firefighter to die in the line of duty. In 1992, Luby, then 43, was at the scene of a house fire “in an overcrowded basement where he became disoriented and separated from his crew as they were backing out of the basement.”
He was the first firefighter to die at the scene of a fire.