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American LaFrance 1952 700 Series 100' Aerial Ladder Truck

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Uploaded on Apr 11, 2009

Johnson Volunteer Fire Museum's 1952 American LaFrance 100' Aerial Ladder Truck (Model 7-100-AJO) in April, 1999, shortly after being purchased from the Brownsville Fire Company, Brownsville, Wisconsin, which had bought it from Waterloo, Iowa, where it served as Aerial 1 and Aerial 2 for around 40 years. This truck has been used by itself or in combination with Waterloo's 1966 900 Series Aerial to save more than 25 lives. It exists today because of the mechanical craftsmanship and skill of Waterloo's Master Mechanic and Assistant Chief (retired) of 44 years, Herman Wenzel. Herman replaced the aerial ladder after it was hit by a panicked semi driver at a fire, then later replaced its open cab with a closed cab from Waterloo's 1956 800 Series pumper, and also replaced its original ALF "J" Series V-12 with a Cummins VTF-555 diesel in 1975, along with adding air brakes, air horns, additional revolving lights, a rear strobe, and an electronic siren. After my purchase of the truck, Herman helped me acquire the truck's original Sterling Model 30 Sirenlight, which is now mounted on the left front bumper. It also now has an American LaFrance bell, and an ALF rescue net. The Cummins is a rare, high-reving diesel, which could be installed with the original Fuller transmission. It is turbocharged, which has a slight muffling effect, but otherwise has no muffler -- just a straight pipe. This truck is currently undergoing an engine overhaul, and though everything on it is manual, including the outriggers, it is fully operational, and could be in service to this day. Back when fire department's were adequately staffed, former Syracuse Deputy Fire Chief Tom Laun's crew could set the brakes on this model of truck, set up, mount the ladder piper and the hose, and have water flowing in less than one minute! Tom sold me the bell that is now on this truck.

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