This from Larry Shapiro:
I visited last week and took some photos to remember the Snorkel.
And the DesPlaines Valley News has an article …
There’s a story that former Chicago Fire Commissioner Robert Quinn invented the Snorkel fire truck in 1958 by running a hose up a cherry picker truck and pumping water down onto a fire.
While the first snorkel [was a] converted vehicle,
GMC[Pierce] produced the first original Snorkel fire truck in 1959 for the Chicago Fire Department.
“For some reason, they did not purchase it and it wound up in Bedford Park,” said Bedford Park Fire Chief Sean Maloy. “I’m told Bedford Park got a good deal on it.”
For the next 20 years, Bedford Park firefighters used the GMC Snorkel to battle fires and drive in parades.
“In 1980, we gave it to public works for use as a work truck,” Maloy said. “About 15 years ago, they stopped using it.” The truck sat for years in a Public Works parking lot.
Eventually, firefighters decided they wanted to restore the vintage piece of firefighting equipment.
“We had it towed to the fire yard. We wanted to restore it,” Maloy said. “We set aside $30,000. We wanted to make it pretty for parades.”
Then the other shoe dropped.
“We had it evaluated,” Maloy said. “We found out it needed a lot of body work and a new engine just to make it able to run.” He said the needed repairs would have doubled the cost of restoring the snorkel. “We decided it wouldn’t be a prudent use of another $30,000 that would have to come from the village,” he said.
Reluctantly, the village sought bids for the truck. There were no takers. “We were asking for $5,000,” he said. “I wish I could have had a collector come in and grab it. Unless someone comes in to take it, a piece of history will be going to the scrap yard. I’ll hate to see it go.”
Maloy said he’s in no hurry to junk the vintage apparatus and is willing to hold onto the truck for a little while longer.
“I’ll leave it here until about October,” he said. “After that it’s going to the junk heap. I’d probably take a dollar if someone offered to take it off my hands,” he said with a joke.
Anyone interested in acquiring the snorkel should contact Maloy at the Bedford Park Fire Department. His number is 708-563-4510