11/01/13 527 W, 1 I - + 19 - 6 Charleston's New Tiller

From the Pierce Flickr site, here's company photo of Charleston's new tractor-drawn aerial ladder. The tiller is the first for the department since the late 1940s. Numbered Ladder 104, it'll be placed in service at Station 15 in mid-December. How many other departments in South Carolina also operate tillers? We're getting one more in North Carolina, with Wilmington awaiting completion of a Pierce build with a Velocity cab. It'll join Raleigh, High Point, and Cornelius-Lemley as the only active tillers in the state. Saw numerous tillers in northern California this week, from Monterey to Berkeley to San Francisco. Of course, those are the lands of dense cities and tight streets. See larger versions of this picture.


From the Charleston Fire Department's Facebook page, here's a notice about the new truck:

Charleston, SC (October 22, 2013): The Charleston Fire Department is proud to introduce a new addition to its fleet with the arrival of a custom built tiller ladder truck. This 57-foot long tiller ladder was built by Pierce Manufacturing and features a 100 foot steel ladder, seating for 5 firefighters, 249 feet of ground ladders and an array of vehicle extrication equipment and tools. This new apparatus will be housed at Station 15, located at 162 Coming Street on the Charleston Peninsula, and have the call sign of Ladder 104.

The tiller aerial has an extensive history in the American fire service that dates back to the late 1800’s when larger cities like New York, Boston, and San Francisco needed to navigate narrow city streets to access multi-story buildings. These highly maneuverable vehicles are driven by two drivers operating independent suspensions. One driver sits in the front cab, or “tractor”, and steers the front of the apparatus while one driver sits in the “tiller” seat, at the rear, and drives the rear of the apparatus. The drivers work in tandem to steer the apparatus through City streets. The Charleston Fire Department featured a tiller aerial in its fleet in the early 1930’s to the late 1940’s.

The Charleston Fire Department will conduct extensive training with the tiller before the unit is placed into service. The Forsyth County (GA) Fire Department has partnered with the Charleston Fire Department to provide training and guidance on tiller operations. Several members of the CFD previously traveled to Forsyth County for initial training and now instructors from Forsyth are in Charleston providing training on the new vehicle. This training will assist with the skill development from experienced members of Forsyth County who currently operate two tiller drawn aerials apparatus. The CFD Training Division has developed a task book for each crew member to complete before operating the tiller.

Other features of Ladder 104 include a 500 horsepower engine, light tower with 4 – 1500 watt flood lights, hydraulic generator, 3 positive pressure fans, rope rescue gear, 2 thermal imaging cameras, and a full complement of firefighter tools and equipment.

The tiller will be placed in service in mid-December upon successful training of all crew members. A specific service date and a ceremony to welcome the apparatus to the fleet will be announced at a later date.

I believe Hilton Head is the only other one in South Carolina. The frontline unit is an old Atlanta unit Crimson refurbished with a new tractor in the last few years. The reserve is the ALF chassis refurb they bought from Northeast Fire Apparatus I believe. Georgia has a bunch (20+) mostly in the Atlanta area and 2 in Savannah.
GAfireman - 11/01/13 - 20:28

Speaking of tillers, word around the camp fire is the structural modification to #11 is expected to exceed $1M. This modification is necessary to allow room for a replacement of L-2. It has been learned that instead of replacing L-2 with a rear-mount platform a tiller truck could be had for not much more. By doing so the mods to #11 would be cut in half due to not having to deal with the break-over point exiting the bay since a tiller truck is less likely to drag due to the spacing of axles.
Rescue Ranger - 11/01/13 - 22:23

I heard possibly two tillers. Platform is already ordered, might replace old L-1.
RFD O.V. - 11/01/13 - 23:36

Charleston just ordered their second tiller. This one will be a quint similar to the Raleigh units.
GAfireman - 08/01/15 - 20:35

Remember personal info?

/ Textile

Comment moderation is enabled on this site. This means that your comment will not be visible on this site until it has been approved by an editor.

To prevent spam we require you to answer this silly question

  (Register your username / Log in)

Hide email:

Small print: All html tags except <b> and <i> will be removed from your comment. You can make links by just typing the url or mail-address.