Anchorage firefighters at Station 1 have a new truck, and it’s unlike any other in Alaska.


For starters, it’s bigger.


The tractor-drawn aerial, otherwise known as a tiller, is 61 feet long, has double the storage space and is designed to be more maneuverable than a rig half its size. That’s because it has a shorter wheelbase, according to Anchorage Fire Department Senior Capt. Paul Urbano.


The new tiller requires one driver to operate the rig, while another engineer steers the rear axle from the back.


Urbano says the truck cost just under $1 million and was paid for by a voter-approved bond in 2014. The Anchorage Fire Department spent three years on the design to make sure it’s just what the downtown firefighters need to better serve the area.


“We went across the country, from east coast to west coast, and got ourselves on 56 tillers across the country,” Urbano said. “We talked to well over a hundred people about tillers, compiled all that information, and the product we have today is a pretty well designed apparatus.”


Crews still need to be trained on how to operate the new truck.


Urbano says residents won’t see it helping fight fires in Anchorage until summer time. The department’s current tiller will then become the reserve apparatus.


KTVA 11’s Shannon Ballard can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.