02/16/15 447 W, 2 I - + 10 - 3 Durham Adds Auxiliary Trucks - Fire Engineering, 1942

Found for sale on eBay is an excerpt from Fire Engineering, about a pair of "auxiliary trucks" (my words) added in Durham during the war years. These were a pair of one-ton trucks that were placed in service to handle "small fires in residential areas." Such as car fires, chimney fires, and grass fires. Run cards were updated for "straight fire alarms." Instead of two "big pumpers" and a ladder truck, they'd dispatch one pumper, one ladder truck, and one "small truck."

The change was made after they analyzed their runs for 1941. They found that "ninety-eight percent of fires in Durham could've been handled adequately with the ladder truck, one small truck, and ten men." Sound familiar, anyone? Such as the midi-pumper concept of a few decades later? (The war also likely inspired the program. Material restrictions prevented many fire departments from adding or replacing apparatus. This placed a premium on existing trucks. Using "auxiliary trucks" such as this, departments saved wear and tear on the larger and often older rigs.)

Here's what they carried:

  • 900 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose
  • two 2 1/2-inch controlling nozzles
  • one set of reverse couplings
  • one hydrant wrench
  • three hose spanners
  • three hose straps
  • one crowbar
  • two hand lanterns
  • one hose clamp
  • one tarpaulin
  • two axes
  • two soda and acid extinguishers
  • one 24-foot extension ladder
  • one 12-foot roof ladder
  • two brooms
  • one 65-foot hand line
  • one light plant including generator, 200 foot cord, floodlight with 500 watt bulb
  • one hand operated spotlight
  • one pike pole
  • 120-gallon booster tank equipped with 250 feet of 3/4-inch hose with the following type nozzles:
    one 1/4- inch straight tip, one garden hose tip, one spray nozzle
  • one 20-foot length of 3/4-inch suction hose with strainer.

The Durham Fire Department might've been the first in the state to implement this concept. Greensboro, Raleigh, and Wilmington also operated "squad trucks." Read prior blog posting. See also another posting with a vintage ad about the Durham truck.

As for Durham's trucks, one was sold to Garner in 1952 as their first fire truck. Then the thing was sold to Harrells Fire Department in Sampson County. Here are pictures of mine from 2004, of the truck at the Harrells fire station. (What sort of modifications might've been made to the truck, while it served in Garner and/or Harrells? Don't know.) Click to enlarge:

Now, notice the top two photos. Upper left is 1942, upper right is 1945. Same truck, but with front pump added? Or two different trucks? To be determined!

Meanwhile, enjoy the full article. Click once or twice to enlarge:

The biggest change I have seen from DFD to GVFD to HVFD is the movement of the Sireno siren to the oppisite fender and the placement of a siren-light on the left one. I saw this truck in Garner at a fireman’s day parade many, many years ago. Both sirens were functional. A close review of the pictures does not reveal any other changes, aside form the lettering.
DJ - 02/17/15 - 23:52

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