Phoenix fire gets crafty making its own new fire truck

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Firefighters created a truck using a bunch of spare parts at their maintenance lot. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Firefighters created a truck using a bunch of spare parts at their maintenance lot. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
LA18 is short for Low Acuity 18 and it cost little more than the labor to put it all together. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) LA18 is short for Low Acuity 18 and it cost little more than the labor to put it all together. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Firefighters say the new truck is helping help cut down on response time by 30 seconds. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Firefighters say the new truck is helping help cut down on response time by 30 seconds. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Fire Station 18 at 23rd Avenue and Camelback Road is the busiest station in the city of Phoenix and the third busiest in the country.

"It's a non-stop station. It's a light show. Constantly the doors are going up and down all the time," said Capt. Rob McDade with Phoenix Fire.

The station has two fire engines but desperately needed a third to lighten the load.

"Every city is on a tight budget these days. What you want and what you can have are two different things,” said McDade.  

When they found out the City of Phoenix didn't have the money, they took matters into their own hands.

Eighty percent of Station 18’s calls are medical so they created a truck specifically to respond to those emergencies, using a bunch of spare parts at their maintenance lot.

"Under the hood of this rig is an engine from another truck that had been in an accident,” said McDade.

The body is from an older vehicle, and the box sat unused.

"We didn't want to commit a full fire truck with full personnel, millions of dollars to put that all in service. The brainchild was hatched and here we have LA18," said McDade.

LA18 is short for Low Acuity 18 and it cost little more than the labor to put it all together.

"This is her first week. This is her maiden voyage," said McDade.

Already they say it's helping help cut down on response time by 30 seconds.

"It's a smaller truck. It doesn’t have the hose bed. It doesn’t have 500-gallon tank of water on it, so they can nimbly make their way through an apartment complex. We're finding that as an added bonus that we didn’t even account for," said McDade.

Gilbert, Tempe and Mesa all have similar functioning trucks, but Phoenix Fire believes it's the only department to have built its own out of older vehicles.

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

Click to learn more about Lauren.

Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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