Pleasant Hill Donates Ladder Truck to DMACC's Growing Fire Science Program

Posted 8/9/2022

​​Newest addition to DMACC’s “Fire Department”.

  • Pleasant Hill City Council unanimously approves donation.

  • Ladder truck and other fire apparatus present a unique training opportunity for DMACC students.

  • A new ladder truck today costs around $1.6 million.

  • DMACC Fire Science graduates are in great demand.

DMACC Fire Science students now have a fully-functional fire department ladder truck to use in their training program thanks to a generous donation from the City of Pleasant Hill.

DMACC President Rob Denson personally test drove the 73,000-pound ladder truck. “All of us at DMACC are appreciative and thrilled with this donation,” said Denson. “I want to personally thank Mayor Sara Kurovski, (pronounced Kur-ow-skee), all of the members of the Pleasant Hill city council and Fire Chief Jamie Xayavong for this generous gift to our fire science program. This announcement is proof of the many great partnerships that we enjoy with companies and organizations that hire our students,” added Denson.

The Pleasant Hill ladder truck joins an ambulance and pumper truck that DMACC purchased a few years ago. Pleasant Hill’s Fire Chief and former DMACC student, Jamie Xayavong (pronounced zy-oh-vong) said her community recently purchased a new ladder truck and rather than selling it to another community, the city council unanimously endorsed donating it to the College.

“This is good for everyone involved,” said Chief Xayavong. “DMACC fire science students will train on a unique piece of equipment while all of the metro fire departments will interview graduates with a more well-rounded training experience.”

She said its rare for new fire recruits to have training on ladder trucks. Most receive that experience only after they are hired by a fire department.

Brent Conklin, chair of the DMACC Fire Science program, said they are fortunate to receive this important donation. “This is an amazing addition to our fire science program,” said Conklin. “While we have in-class instruction, hands on learning is a crucial part of our program.

Our students will learn every aspect of this ladder truck including operations and capabilities,” stressed Conklin.

Chief Xayavong said that while the ladder truck is 20 years old it was recently recertified by the state of Iowa and is completely operational. “The students will find that new ladder trucks are very similar to this one,” she said. It’s assessed value is $100,000.

The fire truck was manufactured by Toyne in Breda, Iowa. The nearly 50 ft long truck has a 220” wheelbase and is powered by a 450 horsepower Cummins diesel engine. It sells new for $1.6 million. Chief Xayavong said this truck’s engine will also be a nice training tool for DMACC Diesel Technology students.

Conklin said there many opportunities for DMACC fire science graduates these days as many metro fire departments continue to expand and some rural departments are moving from a part-time volunteer staff to full-time professionals. He said starting pay for a firefighter in Central Iowa is around $65,000 and can earn more with overtime. DMACC fire science graduates are working for departments all over central Iowa.

He also noted these graduates will likely go to the top of a department’s hiring list because of their certifications.

Chief Xayavong is the first full-time female fire chief in the metro. She encouraged women of all ages to explore fire science as a career. “It’s not an easy profession for men or women, but its very rewarding,” she said. Pleasant Hill currently has 13 female firefighters on its staff of 39 in the department. DMACC Fire Science classes start on the Ankeny Campus on August 24.

For more information, contact: Brent Conklin, Program Chair-Fire Science, 515-964-6697,​

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