Gilbert fire dept. commissions ladder truck nicknamed for captain

The Gilbert Fire & Rescue Department on March 23 commissioned a ladder truck for Station No. 9, one that comes with a nickname.

Fire & Rescue's L259 is known as "Big Nelly," named after Gilbert Fire Battalion Chief James Nelson, who died Aug. 1 from cancer.

Nelson served on the Gilbert Fire & Rescue Department force for 25 years.

The truck's ladder has a 107-foot reach, and the truck can carry 470 gallons of water with with a master stream nozzle capable of flowing 1,500 gallons per minute, according to Gilbert Fire & Rescue Capt. Mark Justus.

The truck is the first apparatus in Gilbert with battery-powered extraction equipment, commonly known as the "Jaws of Life." In fact, the truck specializes in extraction and forcible entry, Justus said.

The truck also is engineered with a shorter wheelbase for increased maneuverability, Justus said.


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