1929 GMC American LaFrance Type 199 Pumper
On October 28, 1929 the fire company’s Seagrave pumper experienced a major breakdown and was in need of a major refurbish, This left the fire company with only the 1918 Ford American LaFrance chemical \ hose wagon for fire protection for the town and surrounding community. Due to the deteriorating condition of the Seagrave pumper caused by years of traveling many miles over the rough county roads outside of the town limits, the fire company had for some weeks been looking at purchasing a smaller lighter unit that also carried was equipped with a water tank.
Because of the advance work that had been done in researching a new unit, when the Seagrave was placed out of service, the fire company Board of Directors immediately acted and on October 30, 1929 purchased a 1929 GMC American LaFrance Type 199 pumper. The unit was actually sitting on the showroom floor of the Elmira, New York headquarters of American LaFrance. The pumper cost five thousand nine hundred dollars. It was driven to Bel Air by an American LaFrance factory man and arrived on November 2, 1929, were it was immediately placed in service. The American LaFrance factory man provided the training on the new unit and remained in town for a week or two to ensure all the firemen were fully trained on the pumper.
The pumper came equipped with a 6 cylinder GMC engine, 500 GPM rotary pump, 100 gallon water tank, left hand drive, hard sleeves, a 24 foot extension ladder, 14 foot roof ladder and numerous small tools and appliances. The unit also had an electric siren and also a spot light mounted in the middle of the cab. The cab of the unit was also completely open, and did not even have a windshield.
The pumper was designated as the rural pumper and was first out on all out of town fires. The unit experienced several accidents in its history. On August 21, 1935 while returning from a carnival in Reisterstown the driver of the engine failed to negotiate a sharp curve and it rolled over on its side. Of the thirteen riding on the apparatus only one was injured and was taken to Union Memorial Hospital by the Cockeysville Volunteer Fire Company ambulance with minor injuries. Damage to the pumper was also minor. On Friday August 22, 1935 the pumper was righted and driven back to Bel Air.
On February 16, 1938 the pumper was sideswiped by an automobile while it was returning from a fire in Fallston. Of the many firemen on the pumper, only one was injured. Francis Bodani suffered a severe ankle injury. The pumper sustained considerable damage and had to undergo major repairs.
The engine served until 1940 when, along with the 1924 Seagrave it was traded in on a 1938 45 Series Mack Pumper.