Basin Electric donates money to local fire department for new ladder truck


Wheatland Fire Department’s new ladder truck. (Left to right): Myron Singleton, Laramie River Station plant superintendent; Troy Tweeten, Laramie River Station plant manager; Chuck Williams, fire chief; Kathy Jones, Bill Stafford, Missouri Basin Power Project Government and Community relations office; and Jerry Munger, retired Laramie River Station employee and Wheatland Fire Department president.

The Wheatland, Wyoming Fire Department recently bought a ladder truck from the city of Newcastle, Wyoming.

William Deglman, Laramie River Station safety coordinator and assistant fire chief to Chuck Williams, fire chief of the Wheatland Fire department, has been volunteering since 1999. “For the last 20 years it has been a goal for the department to get some type of aerial apparatus simply because of the changing architecture and building styles,” Deglman says.

The new construction of the Heartland Inn and Suites in Wheatland prompted action to get the ladder truck. Every time there is construction of a new building, the fire department examines the building to determine the best course of action in case of emergency. Because the Heartland Inn and Suites is three stories, the fire department acknowledged they did not have the proper equipment to get a person down from the third story of the building

Originally the department was unable to obtain the funds needed to buy a new ladder truck, which can easily top $1 million.

Two Newcastle firefighters, the sons of the president of the Wheatland Fire Department and retiree of Laramie River Station, Jerry Munger, knew Wheatland was looking for a ladder truck to buy. At that time, the Newcastle Fire Department was cycling a 1984 E-ONE ladder truck out and, because they were aware of Wheatland’s desire for an aerial, offered the truck for $20,000.

In addition to the ladder truck only being owned by one other department, it was also in excellent condition. “Since only one other department had owned the truck before us, it was like buying it new because we could see how well the department had taken care of the truck and its equipment,” Deglman says. “Quality equipment allows firefighters to perform their duties in all types of hazardous environments while minimizing the risk to the lowest levels possible. Good equipment also allows us to service the citizenry in which we serve in the most expedient manner possible to limit the loss of life and property.”

The truck and the equipment it provides will be of great value to the city of Wheatland and to Laramie River Station. The aerial is not just used to rescue at height, but also master stream operations and below grade rescues. It benefits the local community and plant community by assisting their firefighters in working at heights. “I believe its greatest asset to life safety and property preservation will be the ability to vertically ventilate structures with limited risk to firefighters,” Deglman says.

Bill Stafford, Basin Electric director of government relations in Wyoming, and Kathy Jones, Basin Electric government community relations assistant, worked with Basin Electric and the Wheatland Fire Department to give a full price donation for the truck.

Deglman says, “We [the Wheatland Fire Department] are so grateful to Missouri Basin Power Project and Basin Electric for the support of the project. We wouldn’t have been able to do it by any other means and we wouldn’t be where we are today without their support.”

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