Monday, November 18, 2013

American LaFrance from the shoebox

By way of contrast to modern looking fire apparatus here's a dip into the oldies shoebox from the northern Maine community of Caribou.

The classic American LaFrance 'bathtub" is probably the image many of us have in mind as the definitive firetruck. If you will pardon my saying - all fire trucks look alike these days, but certainly a LaFrance was identifiable from miles away!
One nice little department of the 1980s was Caribou, Maine, with an "all LaFrance" lineup. I happened to stumble across it on a day when they were swamping out the floors of the truck bays, and so had four rigs out on the apron. I am showing the Kodachrome slides, full frame:

1. The newest was this pumper with an extended roof canopy, but otherwise open to the weather. Those Maine firemen must have been tough.

2. Number 2 was an older model which seemed to have a back wall on the cab.

3. This monster conventional wore number 3. It probably had a Packard V-12 gasoline engine.

4. Number 4 was the oldest of the bathtub types in the hall.

5. Rounding out the roster on that day, was Number 8, a LaFrance tanker/pumper on a Chev 80 commercial chassis.

6. Old number 3 had the usual pump panel ahead of the firewall.

7. What can I add?

I now regret that I didn't copy any information on the trucks, so I would welcome any more details.


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