Fire truck was an anonymous gift

Last Thursday Caswell Beach town officials and Southport firefighters dedicated their new 75-foot ladder truck, which can reach the heights of the tallest condominiums, federal government structures, and the faith-based retreat on the east end of Oak Island.

Southport Fire Department covers Caswell Beach and the east end of Oak Island. It took over when the former Yaupon Fire Department disbanded and now, Caswell has a public services building that houses firefighting equipment, public works and a Brunswick County Emergency Medical Services ambulance.

The department formally moved the new aerial ladder to the Caswell station last Thursday.

“It’s really a great addition to the department and to the community,” said Southport Fire Chief Charles Drew. The 55-foot ladder truck currently stationed at Caswell Beach will go to the department’s Long Beach Road substation, near Surf Cinemas.

Drew noted that firefighters had to cut away parts of the wall coverings in the Caswell Beach building to accommodate the new, larger ladder truck. With all its additions, the engine is worth about $450,000, he said. It has only 6,000 miles of service and was provided by an anonymous donor.

The Caswell substation now has the larger ladder truck, two 1,000-gallon fire engines, a brush fire response truck, an air tank trailer, and at least two full-time firefighters are at the station around the clock, said Drew.

Drew also said the equipment improvement would help give the district a better fire protection rating, which plays into insurance rates - especially for commercial structures.

Firefighter Tom Lott said he had worked at several departments and felt “blessed to be a part of a great department.”

Several town officials took a brief ride in the new ladder truck and the fire department served lunch to guests who attended the dedication.