02/04/14 318 W, 6 I - + 5 - 5 Before There Were Hurst Tools

Pictures of "Raleigh Rescue" practicing extrication at the Raleigh Fire Department training tower, circa 1971 to 1974.The first hydraulic-powered Hurst rescue tools appeared in Wake County in 1974. Here's that history:

The first Hurst tool was purchased by the Cary Area Rescue Squad, and was profiled in a Raleigh Times story on April 1, 1974.

It cost $4,100 and was demonstrated at Crickett’s Texaco by squad on Saturday, March 30, 1974. Originally developed by “Hurst automotive parts firm to rescue its test race car drivers," the tool had been tested by Raleigh’s firefighters and rescue crews, and county volunteers. Civil Defense Coordinator Russell Capps said he has “tried to find some money to buy some.” He had tried to line up donations from corporations to cover half the cost. Federal grants would pay for other half.

Delivery was expected of two Hurst tools soon (for Raleigh?), with the local share for a third to be placed in Wendell. One night in the fall of 1973, Cary squad members “spent almost two hours trying to extricate a body from a car that had smashed into a tree on Piney Plains Road. “They had only hand tools, a gasoline-fueled jack and two wreckers.   “’That was the night we decided to get the Hurst rescue tool’, said H. Lee Gupton” a member of the squad. John Servis was Assistant Chief of CARS and the area representative for the local Hurst distributor.

The 67-pound tool operated with “two small slide levers.” It’ was powered by a small gasoline motor that “runs a hydraulic line to the tool 30 feet away.”

But back to the chains and pry bars that preceded it. These are courtesy of Raleigh Public Affairs and you can see more on this Raleigh Fire Museum photo page. Click to enlarge:

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