1951 Maxim 85 Foot Aerial Ladder
Truck 3 (1970), Truck 331 (1972)
In 1970 the fire company decided it needed to get into the aerial ladder business. It was decided to purchase a used aerial and keep it for several years to learn the dynamics, etc. of operating an aerial ladder unit while detailed specifications were being written for a new unit.
On October 6, 1970 the fire company purchased a 1951 Maxim 85 foot aerial ladder truck for twelve thousand five hundred and two dollars from the Jenkintown Fire Department. When the truck reached Bel Air some immediate changes were made such as removing a booster reel and installing a 5000 watt Onan generator, adding smoke ejectors and replacing the 35 foot and 50 foot extension ladders, which were wood, with a 35 foot and a 45 foot Alco-Lite aluminum extension ladder.
The unit was equipped with a PTO driven booster pump, a 150 gallon booster tank, two booster reels each with 150 feet of ¾ inch hose. One of the booster reels was removed for the generator placement. The unit also had a small hose bed for several hundred feet of 3 inch hose for the ladder pipe. The unit carried the following extension ladders – a 45 and a 35 foot. It also carried the following straight ladders – a 28 foot, a 24 foot, a 20 foot and a 16 foot. It also carried a 14 foot roof ladder, a 14 foot “A” frame ladder, and 2 10 foot folding ladders. The unit also carried all the standard tools of a truck company such as axes, hooks, halligan bars, smoke ejectors, rope, extinguishers, various tips for the ladder pipe, etc.
The truck went in service in December of 1970 and answered its first alarm on December 24, 1970. The alarm was for an ambulance assist to remove a patient from behind the door. Access could only be made through the second floor window.
The truck saw several years of service while the fire company’s new truck was under production. Finally on June 10, 1976 it answered its last alarm for the fire company. The call was an automatic alarm at the Montgomery Ward Service Center located at the Harford Mall.
The truck had been advertised and sold to Quarryville Volunteer Fire Company of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in May of 1975, but the agreement was that they would not take possession until Bel Air’s new truck arrived and was in service. It was finally released to them in June of 1976.