The Topeka Fire Department says help is on the way to fill a gap in the city's fire protection.
Topeka Fire Marshal Greg Bailey says both of the departments primary aerial trucks and its back-up unit are out of service with mechanical problems. The units have ladders, enabling fire crews to reach heights greater than two stories. They're also able to funnel a heavier stream of water onto a burning structure.
International Association of Firefighters Local 83 President Kent Dederick says the lack of an aerial truck would pose a problem for any fires reaching above two stories.
Bailey says Topeka Fire has recruited help from Mission Township, which will make its aerial truck available for dispatch to Topeka locations. In addition, both Kansas City and Wichita have offered to send a truck to Topeka. Bailey says it was likely the department would accept Wichita's offer to send up a truck with two firefighters to staff it. The truck would arrive Wednesday morning. Bailey expects at least one of Topeka's aerial units to be back in service by the end of the week.
If a high-rise fire should happen overnight Tuesday, Bailey said he didn't foresee any major issues. He says response time from Mission Township wouldn't be a huge delay. He said firefighters would have to launch rescue operations in a different manner until the truck arrived.