Crisfield Fire department
Department Ladder #5, 1947 700 Series
American LaFrance. First Picture taken as she came
off the assembly line, Elmira New York, June, 1947
Chapter 1 The Beginning
In the summer of 1941 the Crisfield Fire Department
of Crisfield, Maryland voted to purchase a new ladder truck from the
American LaFrance company of Elmira New York.
This order was palace for a new ALF 500 series ladder truck, order no.
12867 with a full set of ground ladders, 500 GPM pump, hose bed, and 65
ft. Arial ladder referred to as a Quint to service the citizen of Crisfield
and Somerset county.
December 7, 1941 Perl Harbor and World War II, This brought all fire
engine deliveries to a halt, So the city of Crisfield would have to manage
with out the new ladder for a while. Until September 1945, with the wars end
production would soon begin once more and the Crisfield Fire Department
would soon receive their new ladder truck.
Then in 1946 a letter from American LaFrance was to arrive, this letter
stated that do to a high demand for new equipment from the countries major
cities (New York, Chicago & Los Angeles) that American LaFrance would like
to cancel our contract on the truck and that the 500 series American
LaFrance was being replaced by a new designed 700 series that was more
costly. The American LaFrance offered to buy back the contract at double the
price. Well after the meeting of spring 1946 it was voted by the members not
to except the buy back and to move on with our purchase.
So with this notice the Crisfield Fire Department Ladder 5 was begun, the
truck would not be a 500 series as order, but a new style 700 series quint
painted traditional American LaFrance red with gold leaf lettering.
Registered No. L3038 and delivered to The Crisfield Fire Department on
Friday, July 7th 1947 and after a complete inspection by the
Chief and accepted by the company.
5 the pride of Crisfield was placed in service the following Monday, July 28th,
1947. Over the year she saw service at some of our major fires.
First the Briddell Factory fire in January, 1954, The Crisfield Bakery
fire July, 1969
The Crisfield High School fire February, 1972, Builders Mart Lumber Yard
fire September 1984, along with several mutual aid runs through out the lower
Eastern Shore. Proudly doing her duty, until the spring of 1992 when Ladder
5 now know as Ladder 205 was taken out of service due to a stress fracture
in her Arial mount bringing and end to a great and lustrous career
The last fire this grand truck was to see service was the Great Downtown
Fire in October 11, 1987. As two main blocks of the downtown business
section burned Ladder 205 was standing tall at full extension with master
stream blowing at Max GPM, for several hours, helping prevent the spread of
the fire and saving the rest of the downtown business district. Little did
we know at the time this would be the old girls last fire.
Ladder 5 fail a turntable test with what was called a stress crack, and
placed out of service. After several meeting it was determined that it would
be to costly to repair the truck. She was offered to some local museums and
even advertised for sale but no one seemed interested. Then a general
contractor asked about her to use at this pit for pumping and so the unit
was traded to him.
After a few years the contract was no longer in business, and Ladder 5
landed in a local junk tuck yard, were she sat for 5-6 years before being
In 2005 The top piture was listed on EBay for sale Past Chief B.
Goldsborough entered a bid. It was topped and a bidders war had started
Chief Goldsborough would counter every bid but in the end lost out. So he
decided to call the bidder to see why this picture was so important
to him? Chief Goldsborough told the gentleman that this was our truck
and he would have like to have had the picture, the gentleman asked
didn't you not this was the first 700 series Arial built by American
LaFrance. The picture was a collectable to him, he then told Chief were it
was our truck that he would sent the picture to him after he made a copy.
Ladder 5 / 205 is left to live on in the memories and photo of the
members of the Crisfield Fire Department. The color photo here is the last
known picture and the top photo is the manufactures first picture off the
|Special Note: After
contact with the
American LaFrance museum in Charleston, it was confirmed
that Ladder 5 was not the first Arial ladder built several Arial's were
built but they were Arial's. Ladder 5 was according the American LaFrance's
records the very first Quint class 700 series truck
Page up dated
May 17, 2008
Page & art work by Igor1023
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