A couple of years back, when a boat ran up on the rocks off Hess Pier in Atlantic Highlands, the borough’s fire department dispatched its ladder truck to the scene.
The old 1985 Grumman Aerial Cat, with its 102-foot reach, came through.
“We swung the bucket out across the water to pick people up who were stranded on the boat,” said firefighter Ed Cetron, who assisted in the rescue.
The yellow ladder truck served the community well for 35 years — a stunningly long run for such a vehicle. It was retired at the close of 2020, ending an era for Atlantic Highlands’ first responders and longtime townsfolk alike, and sold at auction to a Cape May collector.
“It served our town exceptionally well,” borough councilman Roy Dellosso said. “How many towns get 35 years out of anything?”
The average lifespan of a ladder truck is 15 years.