11/08/15 339 W, 8 I - + 7 - 3 Bidding on Aerial Apparatus, 1960

In early 1960, the City of Raleigh issued a request for bids and proposals for new “fire fighting apparatus.” They were planning a pair of 750 GPM pumpers and either a 100-foot or 85-foot aerial ladder.

The engines were the latest in pumper upgrades started a decade earlier and that included new deliveries from Mack, FWD (two), and American LaFrance (five). The ladder truck was planned for the west side of city.

Fire Chief Jack Keeter recognized the need for a second aerial ladder in the city, and specific at Fire Station 5 at the corner of Park Drive and Oberlin Road. The current aerial ladder, Truck 1, was a 1958 American LaFrance tiller at Station 1. The reserve ladder was a 1939/1916 American LaFrance tiller, possibly stored at Station 6. (And later moved to the lower parking lot of Station 8, after its construction in 1963.)

American LaFrance won the bid for both the pumpers and the aerial ladder. They delivered a 100-foot mid-mount ladder on March 21, 1961. The 1961 American LaFrance 900 Series apparatus (#6-1-8390) had a bid price of $42,626.70. It was placed in service as Truck 5 by October 4, 1961.


Lee Wilson photo

The truck served the city until at least 1990. In the spring of 1979, the gasoline engine was replaced with a diesel engine. By September 1984, a fiberglass roof had been added to the cab.

It was removed from service at Station 5 by May 6, 1980. It was activated as Truck 16 on September 16, 1981. Then deactivated as Truck 16 on September 21, 1988. Refurbished by American LaFrance in 1998, it was placed in service as Truck 8 that fall. It was deactivated as Truck 8 on September 21, 1990, and moved to reserved status. It was housed at Station 19 as a reserve ladder.

When was the truck retired and sold? To be determined.

Below are documents recently discovered in the fire department archives. They included a bid proposal from Mack, along with a pair of blueprints of Mack aerial ladders. Plus a letter to the Fire Chief from a Maxim dealer in Hamlet named Phil Gibbons.

Click once or twice to enlarge:

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