Archive for June 1st, 2012

Thoughts on CFD apparatus needs – a commentary

Thoughts from Bill Post about recent comments made regarding CFD spare apparatus for Tower Ladder 10 and Squad 1:

One of the great things about Tower Ladder 10’s location, is that they are not more than a mile and a half away from Fleet Management (the shops), so they could easily have work done on their rig whenever they wish. The oldest front line tower ladders though are three, 1996 HME/LTIs that are at Tower Ladders 21, 37, and 39, all of which are 16 years old. The CFD had been trying to replace most of their rigs within 10 to 15 years of frontline service. That said, Tower Ladder 21’s rig looks pretty good and it’s been getting it’s share of extra alarms lately. Tower ladders are listed on the city of Chicago’s official 2012 buying plan issued by the department of Procurement Services. This means that they intend to have bids requested to build them.

My concern is about the spare Snorkel that was running as Squad 1. That’s the only spare 55′ Snorkel left. I understand that it’s twin was gotten rid of over the last few years. Most readers of this site probably know by now that the CFD has been wanting to replace the three Snorkel Squads for the last few years, and that it has even been listed on Chicago’s official buying plan.

The catch, is that American LaFrance (ALF) holds the manufacturing rights to the Snorkel brand that they acquired from the old Snorkel corporation that went out of business (over 10 years ago), and ALF refuses to build any new Snorkels. The alternative is to rehab and remount an old Snorkel on a new chassis and body which several fire departments that still use Snorkels have done already. When there are fewer Snorkels out there, it becomes more difficult to even find Snorkels to rebuild and remount. 

I have heard that there may be other manufacturers that would be willing to design their own aerial similar to a "Snorkel", however it would be very expensive.  So, it would be much simpler if American LaFrance would just sell the rights to the Snorkel if not just build them again. Even though you see less of them in use, there are still a few major and several smaller fire departments that use Snorkels. The Memphis (TN) fire department had been running with two single-piece Snorkel Squads (which had been been using remounted Snorkels on newer chassis) and the Philadelphia (PA) fire department had been using two remounted full-size Snorkels. Since both Memphis and Chicago make extensive use of the smaller Snorkel Squads, it would be a good idea if they would start a class-action suit against American LaFrance to either manufacture the Snorkel or to at least let another company (who is willing to build the Snorkel) have the specs and rights to build them. The irony about this is that the Chicago Fire Department and our old repair shops is where the idea for the original Snorkel began, and our old repair shops even outfitted the original Snorkel for fire service applications. American LaFrance now owns the original Snorkel (which served as Snorkel 1 and Snorkel Squad 3) as part of their historic collection, even though they never actually built or outfitted the rig. The boom and platform were actually built by the Pitman Corporation. It really seems as if they are holding the fire service (in general) and Chicago Fire Department (in particular) hostage.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Fire engine and Steam Locomotive unite

From Scott Peterson:

Found this driving thru Hebron IL. Bought from a Skokie fireman by Doug Reno. It'll be at the Illinois Railway museum this weekend and the next two. It will fill a steam Engine. The piping on the driver's side was fabricated for a quick-fill method of the rig's tank while it is in Union to fill the steam engine The Leviathon. Rig is in really good shape! It carries WLF so 80-1129.

1975 Ward LaFrance Ambassador engine Wadsworth OH
1975 Ward LaFrance Ambassador engine Wadsworth OH
1975 Ward LaFrance Ambassador engine Wadsworth OH
1975 Ward LaFrance Ambassador engine Wadsworth OH
1975 Ward LaFrance Ambassador engine Wadsworth OH

Tags: , , , , , ,