Clark County Fire Department’s Laughlin will be receiving an aerial apparatus — also known as a ladder truck — sometime this week. The new ladder truck means CCFD won’t have to rely on the Bullhead City Fire Department to provide a ladder truck for fires in buildings higher than two stories and for rescues. Laughlin has not had a ladder truck since 2007.


LAUGHLIN — The Clark County Fire Department is getting a ladder truck for Laughlin.

Laughlin last had a ladder truck in 2007, when the truck was pulled from service in the township during the Great Recession.

Since then, the Clark County Fire Department and Bullhead City Fire Department have had a mutual aid agreement, allowing Bullhead City to provide its ladder truck and crew for any fires requiring it. Ladder trucks are needed for fires in any buildings taller than two stories and for executing certain rescue operations.

Laughlin Town Advisory Board members, since that time, have frequently raised the issue, noting the need for quicker response should any type of fire break out on the Nevada side of the Colorado River.

The MGM Grand fire, in November of 1980, killed 87 people and injured 700. Following that fire in Las Vegas, Nevada enacted statewide regulations requiring all high-rise hotels to be equipped with sprinkler systems and alarms.

All of the Laughlin casinos are equipped with such sprinkler systems for any high-rise upper level fires that might occur. However, two -story home fires as well as lower-floor casino rescues or incidents that might require the use of a ladder will benefit from the coming ladder truck without having to count on Bullhead City for its aerial apparatus.

Thomas Touchstone, deputy director of operations for the Clark County Fire Department, brought the news before the Laughlin Town Advisory Board, saying the department will be bringing the truck to Laughlin as soon as a newer radio system is installed. Touchstone stated that the aerial apparatus engine, which has a 100-foot ladder with a bucket setup, will be “cross-manned” by existing Laughlin firefighters rather than a separate crew. 

Touchstone also pointed out that CCFD did not reduce service to Laughlin as has occurred in other parts of Clark County due to the COVID-19 induced budget crisis. Touchstone said out that Engine 76 has seen a significant increase in service calls since the reopening of the casinos in Laughlin as he went back over the recent fire at the Golden Nugget in which eight cars were damaged in the parking structure. The ladder truck would have been of use in that fire, which was on the fourth floor of the parking garage. Touchstone explained that though all parking garages have water feeds in them for firefighters to use in such instances, they are considered a secondary means of getting water into a garage due to being open access pipes that, as Touchstone put it, people tend to fill with cans and other debris making them not always functional.

He said in those instances of a parking garage fire on an upper floor they generally use a rope and drag and fire hose from a fire engine on the ground, which takes extra time to rig and pull up. The ladder truck would simply raise it’s extension ladder and battle such blazes that way. 

Good news for Laughlin.

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