1975 Seagrave LTI 85 Foot Aerial Tower
For several years prior to 1974 the fire company had owned and operated a 1951 Maxim aerial ladder with the express intent of learn the dynamics, etc. of operating an aerial ladder unit while detailed specifications were being written for a new unit. The truck committee spent many hours writing specifications and requesting bids. In February of 1974 the fire company placed an order for a new aerial tower with Fire Equipment Supply Company.
The chassis was built by Seagrave Fire Apparatus in June of 1975 and then the unit was sent to LTI (Ladder Towers, Inc.) to have the 85 foot ladder built and installed. After this the unit was sent back to Clintonville Fire Apparatus of Clintonville, Wisconsin to have the custom body installed and the unit finished for delivery. The unit was equipped with an “S” style Seagrave cab, a Detroit Diesel 8V71 engine and Allison HT740 automatic transmission. The unit had an 85 foot aerial tower with a unique outrigger system originally designed by Grove Crane Company.
The outrigger system consisted of four outriggers that extended out and down. This configuration allowed for more full stability and capacity in every direction and angle with the ladder and platform. This configuration could not be done with a conventional ladder truck. The unit carried the following aluminum ladders – a 45 foot 2 section extension ladder with poles, a 35 foot 3 section extension ladder, a 28 foot 2 section extension ladder, a 24 foot 2 section extension ladder. It also carried the following aluminum ladders – an 18 foot straight roof ladder, a 14 foot straight roof ladder, a 10 foot folding ladder, an 8 foot folding ladder and a 14 foot “A” frame ladder. 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 unit also carried some special devices, explosives, called Jet-Axe. The Jet-Axe, a very real product made by a company called Explosive Technology and was intended for use to punch precise holes in walls, doors, and other obstacles. Instead of using a normal axe to try to smash through a steel garage door, for example, firefighters could hang the Jet-Axe–which was essentially a packaged explosive–on the door and trigger an explosion to punch a rectangular or circular hole. These holes would be used for ventilation of hazardous fumes or for forcible entry into buildings. These devices were never used by the fire company and after years of being on the apparatus, they were taken out of service and given to the State Fire Marshall for disposal.
The truck went in service in June of 1976 and answered its first alarm on June 20, 1976. The alarm was for a dwelling fire on West Riding Drive in the West Riding development south of town. The truck ran its last alarm for Bel Air on June 16, 1989 for a dwelling fire on Stonewall Lane south of Bel Air.
The fire company had entered into an agreement with the Abingdon Volunteer Fire Company of Harford County on November of 1987 to sell them the unit on the condition they could not take possession of the unit until our new truck was delivered and in service.