06/23/09 370 W - + 8 - 10 Questions and Answers

Opening the mailbag, here are some questions recently received from readers, site visitors, and random Googlers. Was my answer wrong, really wrong, or incomplete? Let me know. 

Q: What is the definition of a "city service truck?"  I worked on several as a fireman in the Los Angeles Fire Department, but never heard a definition of the term. I have been looking through Google, but haven't found a definition that was complete.

A: What's called a city service truck, or a service ladder truck, is simply a ladder truck without an aerial device. If equipped with a chemical tank, such as those in the 1920s, it could be called a combination service truck. If it had a pump, hose, and tank, along with a ladder bed, it was called a quadruple combination, or quad. I tried to find the origin of the term, via Firehouse Forums, some time ago. Here are those results.


Q: [Regarding an] 1882 Silsby 5th 680 [steam engine], could you explain to me the definition of the "5th" and "680".

A: Fifth refers to fifth-size. Steam engines were produced in six sizes, first through sixth, which were largest to smallest. Additionally, an extra first size was even larger than the regular first size. There's a chart of sizes with typical measurements in this steamer article. The number 680 might be the serial number. It's probably not the pump capacity, as fifth-size steamers were rated closer to 450 GPM.


Q: Do you happen to have any old photos of the Wake County Sheriff's Office? I see that you have numerous [old] fire and EMS pictures, but not many [old] pictures are around of deputies.

A: Though I do not have any photos that come to mind, I can ask readers of my blog for assistance. Does anyone have a stash of old Wake SO photos? Drop a line, if so.


Q: Do you have a copy of the Fire Commission minutes for 2009? I am doing a bit of research and couldn't find them on the Wake County web site.

A: What minutes I have posted to my blog are at http://www.legeros.com/ralwake/photos/weblog/wcfc/.

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