SHIRLEY -- When a shiny, new fire truck pulled up in front of the Town Offices on a recent Friday morning, there was no fire, no emergency.

A welcoming committee consisting of the Board of Selectmen and the town administrator came out to greet Fire Chief Dennis Levesque and to get an up-close view of the latest addition to his department's fleet of vehicles: a towering, 107-foot ladder truck, resplendently red and big as a small house.

Town Meeting approved purchasing the truck last fall and voters at a subsequent special town election passed a debt exclusion (temporary Proposition 2 1/2 tax override) to cover the cost, which with loan interest added to the $800,000 price tag totals about $1 million, paid out over time.

Given that the vintage truck it replaced was 30 years old, refurbished once and no longer reliable, most residents agreed it was time to retire the old truck and that the expenditure for a new one was worth it, with a useful lifespan of at least 15-20 years.

The public unveiling of the truck, which arrived last week, wasn't its maiden voyage, but close.

Levesque said the new truck, which was delivered last week, hasn't yet been out on a call, with preparatory details pending before it goes into service.

The to-do list includes transferring radios, hand tools and other equipment, such as the Jaws of Life, from the old truck to the new one, which is 32-feet longer than its predecessor.

Other firefighters who came along for the ride Lt.


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Al Deshler and Firefighter/EMTs Donald Denning and Zachary Algarin, pointed out some of the new fire truck's modern features. For example, it's much more maneuverable than the old one was, they said.

"It stops on a dime," Denning said.

Algarin said its 107-foot ladder can be positioned better for the safety of firefighters.