Crisfield Fire department

The Story of Ladder 5

 Crisfield Fire 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.

Chapter 2 In Service

 Ladder 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.



Chapter 21 In Service

  In 1991 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 crushed.
  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 assembly line

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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