08/31/10 105 W, 1 I - + 16 - 15 Knightdale's First Pumper, 1955

Here's your morning historical photo. In May 1955, the town of Knightdale received their first fire truck, a 1942 General Motors pumper that was purchased from Navy surplus for $1,250. The truck was equipped with a 500 GPM pump and a 750 gallon tank. It was the second piece of apparatus for the  Knightdale Fire Department. The volunteers had previously used a 1 1/2-ton town truck to transport hose, ladders, and other equipment. The fire department was formed one year earlier, and presumably concurrent with the installation of fire hydrants in town. Read more about their history. Click to enlarge the photo, taken by John Stalvey.

I’m asking because I don’t know, and a few others I have asked were not sure: why were fire engines of that vintage and into the mid-sixties ordered with open cabs? Was it ease of entry with turnout gear, visibility, tradition from earlier times, or did it just cost less? Thanks. David
DLH - 09/01/10 - 13:54

Ask and ye shall receive. See this history: http://legeros.com/ralwake/photos/weblog..
Legeros - 09/02/10 - 13:06

Very interesting! Thanks for the link. That Raleigh LaFrance is truly beautiful. I had missed this discussion earlier, for whatever reason. My volunteer department began with a 42 Oren Ford, obtained from military surplus in Virginia in 1955, but it was closed cab. Windsor, NC has a pretty cool 39 Ford open cab engine.
DLH - 09/02/10 - 20:43

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