06/03/12 475 W, 1 I - + 11 - 7 The Original Truck 8

Posed photos of Raleigh's service ladder trucks, which operated from 1922 to 1988, have been exceptionally hard to find. My ten (?) years of photo research has found just a handful. Plus this one, from the Richard M. Adleman collection as bought on eBay. It's the first posed shot of the city's 1964 GMC service truck that we've found to date, shown as Truck 8 sometime in the 1980s. Chassis by GMC, body either by the fire department shops or Alexander Welding. Probably the latter. Suspect the only shop-built ladder truck was the 1963 Ford, a year prior. As the story goes, the ladder rack was reused from the 1922 American LaFrance service truck. Memo to self, revisit that research, and the newspaper story that year about the fireman that built the thing. Anyway, here's the new old picture. Click to enlarge:


The Raleigh Fire Department had five service trucks in its fleet: 1922 American LaFrance, 1963 Ford, 1964 GMC, 1971 Chevrolet., and 1980 Ford. The original was part of a two-piece truck company at Station 1 until 1949, when it was moved to Station 6. The others served at varying stations, which we'll detail below. The 1963 Ford was damaged in a vehicle accident in 1979, and rebuilt with a 1980 Ford chassis. It's last assignment was Truck 12, which was disbanded as a company on September 20, 1988. Believe that's the only instance in the department's 100-year history of a permanent company closure.

Here's what should be an accurate chart of the service trucks, combining my apparatus registry with my company histories (PDF). See a couple discrepancies, Truck 6 at the end, and Truck 15 with two rigs. Readers are hereby empowered to check and correct my work!

Truck 1
Truck 2
1922 American LaFrance 1922-1949 Named Service Truck Company 1.
Second of two-piece ladder company.
Moved to Station 2 in 1941.
Unsure when Truck 2 designation started.
Truck 6 1922 American LaFrance 1949-1960  Replaced with another apparatus, 1922 ALF disassembled to create body for 1960 Ford as Truck 7.
Truck 6 ??????? 1960-1962 May have operated 1939/1916 American LaFrance tiller, which was a reserve since 1958.
Removed from service until 1965.
Truck 6 1964 GMC. 1965-1979 Moved to Station 16.
Truck 7 1922 American LaFrance. 1960-1962 Replaced with 1963 Ford.
Truck 7 1963 Ford. 1962-1979 Rebuilt after accident.
Replaced by 1980 Ford.
Truck 7 1980 Ford. 1980-1982. Moved to Station 12.
Truck 8 1964 GMC. 1981-1987 Replaced by aerial apparatus.
1964 GMC moved to Station 15.
Truck 11 1971 Chevy 1972-1986 Replaced by aerial apparatus.
1971 Chevy moved to Station 15.
Truck 12 1980 Ford 1982-1988. Company disbanded.
Truck 15 1964 GMC 1987-1988 1964 GMC.
Replaced with 1971 Chevy.
Truck 15 1971 Chevy 1988-1989. 1964 Chevy.
Replaced with aerial apparatus.
Truck 16 1964 GMC 1979-1981 Replaced with aerial apparatus.
1964 Chevy moved to Station 8.

Oh, and why are they called service ladder trucks? Because in the days of hand-drawn ladder trucks, they were sized both small and large. The former were good for "village service" and the latter good for "city service." Which was later shortened from "city service trucks" to "service trucks." Read that explanation from a 2010 posting.

Did Truck 6 operated as an aerial ladder company from 1960 to 1962? Believe so, based on a couple things. When Cary Firefighter Vernon Thompson died in a tanker rollover 1960, one of the scene photos shows the 1939/1917 ALF in the background. DJ caught that one, years ago. It conceivable responded with other “west side” Raleigh units. Also, at least one retiree remembers the original tiller housed at Station 6. It was too long for the building, however, and a window or two had to be removed. Believe they built a “box” or shelter for the ladder section that stuck out! Guess we’ll ask the retirees again, and look for any period photos of Station 6 we might’ve missed. We, that means me!
Legeros - 06/03/12 - 10:19

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