12/02/11 186 W, 1 I - + 7 - 8 Hillsborough's New Ladder Truck

December 3 update: See also this subsequent posting about HFD history.

The town of Hillsborough has taken delivery of a new ladder truck, a 95-foot aerial platform built by Sutphen. Ladder 2 will be operated by Orange Rural Fire Department, which is contracted by the town for fire protection in the town. Curiously, the new truck is lettered for the Hillsborough Fire Department.1

The new apparatus replaces a 1987 Simon-Duplex/LTI quint. This town news release includes details on the funding for the truck. FireNews.net also has details on the delivery, from a News of Orange County story.

We see quite a few Sutphens in the central Piedmont, such as operated by Durham, Greensboro and Winston-Salem. As for the Hillsborough Fire Department and its history, we've tried to track that but without much success. Maybe a visit to the local library is in order one of these days. Click to enlarge:

Town of Hillsborough photo

1Reminds me of Avery County's short Sutphen platform, which was bought by and lettered for the county but operated by the individual fire departments. If memory serves correctly.

Nice looking rig. I worked for WSFD and rode three of our Sutphen ladders. They are great apparatus with great reputation. I know that Durham is a loyal Sutphen customer as well as Greensboro. Also the Sutphen dealer Stevens Fire Equipmentare great to work with.
Clay Simmons (Email) - 12/02/11 - 11:56

So what’s the Hillsborough Fire Department? I checked the Town’s website- they only have a fire marshal- no department listed… Is this a sign of things to come?
Bob P. - 12/02/11 - 21:21

Carrboro has a similar ladder. Very nice piece. Sutphen seems to make very well thought of equipment, would like to see them in the capital county
shevais - 12/02/11 - 22:48

Bob, the Hillsborough Fire Department was a prior entity that protected the town until perhaps the 1990s. Maybe it still exists on paper, as a named but not necessarily funded town department. It’s not present in the latest town budget: http://www.ci.hillsborough.nc.us/sites/d..
Legeros - 12/02/11 - 23:40

I believe that the Hillsborough Fire Dept is actually known as Orange Rural. http://www.orfd.org/department-informati..
Marcus - 12/03/11 - 08:18

Thanks Marcus. As the above earlier blog link notes, http://www.legeros.com/ralwake/photos/we.., I get the impression that ORFD was organized as an entity separate from HFD. Looking at their original articles of incorporation on the Secretary of State’s web site, they were called Orange Rural Fire Department No. 1. Wonder what the “No. 1” signified?

Anyway, so for decades there was a Hillsboro FD, later named Hillsborough FD. A volunteer department, and with equipment that the town probably paid for. Then something happened in 1968, at least as an issue of the Hose & Nozzle mentions. Leading citizens proposed creating a VFD to replace the present system. The new department would extend coverage several miles from town. That was ORFD.

As for the specifics of how long HFD operated, and the finer details therein, that’s a mystery. HFD appears in the NCSFA’s annual list of member departments through at least 1995. ORFD hired their first paid firefighters in 1996. So maybe HFD operated as late as the mid 1990s? And then ORFD took over completed contracted protection of the municipal fire district?

Certainly a compelling question, and probably easy to uncover with a little leg, or local inquiries or research.
Legeros - 12/03/11 - 08:45

Mike, I wonder if the City of Hillsborough maybe funded this truck for ORFD to use and felt since they bought it their name should be on it. I recently read where a town ( I think in Florida) is suing the fire department they contracted with for fire protection, because the city did not renew the contract but the department has not returned the equipment including several trucks that the town had purchased. seems if the equipment purchased by the town had the towns name on it getting their trucks back would be easier. In fact up here Carroll County letters any trucks they fund as CARROLL COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT regardless of what Department is using the trucks, or which department they are housed at, and the Hillsville Fire Department has about 8 or9 trucks labeled Carroll County in their 3 stations, also have one engine and a new ladder coming that are lettered Hillsville Fire Department because the town is buying them. I can see the rational, especially with most towns and counties having tight budgets these days, they want the citizens to see their tax dollars at work.
Galax,Va - 04/20/12 - 22:29

The Town of Hillsborough contracts ORFD for fire protection. Hillsborough chipped in on the truck, thus it gets its name on the side.
Bob - 07/19/12 - 17:32

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