Rowley, Massachusetts is like many New England communities with several historic buildings including the town’s fire station built in 1936. The fire department protects approximately 5000 residents in the 19. 7 square mile area from a single station. The original wood frame station has three apparatus bays with ten-foot doors with limited space for modern units. In later years the station was expanded to provide three bays at the rear with slightly higher doors, but still limited in depth do to the foot print of the available land.
Due to the restricted overhead door clearance, the fire department was relegated to acquiring used ladder trucks that would fit into the available apparatus bay space. The first aerial ladder was a 1967 American LaFrance 900 series, 100-foot midship truck that easily fit into the ten foot high doors and was a welcomed addition to the department’s fleet. This truck served the department for many years until the steel aerial could no longer pass the annual certification testing.
A search for a newer, used apparatus lead the department to acquire a former FDNY Seagrave rear mount ladder truck. This vehicle was a 1984 model and was rebuilt with new compartment doors, hydraulic system upgrades, new warning lights, paint and graphics. The Seagrave SR model ladder featured a low travel height and reduced overall length when compared to the midship ladder and was the department’s first four door cab apparatus.
While the NFPA 1901 Standard required only 115 feet of portable ground ladders, Rowley was able to modify the ladder banking arrangement to carry ladders on both sides of the body as well as under the turntable. While this apparatus saw heavy use in FDNY as Ladder Company 36 in Manhattan, the rebuilt unit served Rowley for many years. Once again, due to frame and ladder issues identified during annual certification testing the vehicle had to be removed from service. The department was concerned as there were a limited number of options for aerial apparatus that could fit into any one of the stations bays.
After evaluating both new and used vehicles the Rowley Fire Department acquired a newly introduced Emergency One Metro model 100-foot rear mount ladder. This vehicle featured an overall height of 10 foot, 7 inches with an overall length of 38 feet, 6 inches, just enough to fit into the rear station bays. Ladder 1 is built on a Cyclone II chassis with a 220-inch wheelbase, powered by a Cummins ISL engine rated at 450 horsepower through an Allison EVS-3000 transmission.
Particular attention was paid to the compartment layouts including the ground ladder banking. All ladders are stored at the rear of the body with the vehicle carrying 182 feet of ladders.
The apparatus is outfitted with a reinforced, steel front bumper with recessed mechanical siren, transverse front compartment and folding turntable handrails. The short eleven-foot outrigger profile enables the apparatus to be set up in tight areas with a maneuverable turning radius. One of the challenges on aerial ladder units is to successfully package the ground ladders, especially two section 28 foot and 35 foot ladders while providing sufficient room to carry a wide assortment of truck company equipment. The Rowley Fire Department was able to successfully accomplish a number of tasks while providing for the departments first, new ladder truck to serve the community.