ESCANABA TOWNSHIP — The John and Melissa Besse Foundation gave the Escanaba Township Fire Department a million-dollar grant last month. The money was for a 100-foot aerial platform truck.

It’ll make the job of battling fires in tall buildings much easier.

“This will enable us to access roofs for ventilation purposes, for putting piercing nozzles in,” Escanaba Township volunteer firefighter Tom Sealander said. “This will allow us to put a lot more water on the fire a lot quicker.”

Firefighters met representatives on Monday from Spartan ERV and CSI Emergency Apparatus, the Michigan-based companies that are building and equipping the vehicle.

“We’ve spent a lot of time researching it,” Sealander said. “We’ve talked to other fire departments, and we made a list of what we wanted, and they’ve come up to verify that the things we put on the truck are exactly what we want.”

The new truck won’t replace any existing equipment. It’ll be an addition to the department’s existing fleet. The truck will be used throughout Delta County because Escanaba Township has mutual aid agreements with all other fire services in the county.

It cost $877,000. The leftover money from the million-dollar grant will be used to pay for the truck’s operating costs.

“Also, the Hannahville Indian Community has been generous to our fire department in the past as well,” Sealander said. “They purchased some of the equipment that’s going to go on this new truck.”

The truck should arrive next March.