Sunday, August 3, 2014

White GMC - veterans

Industrial fire apparatus are usually not as well equipped nor as attractive as those units used by municipal departments, but they are an interesting "sub species" nonetheless. Built to fight fires in specific industrial settings, they are usually fitted out for that one purpose, and such is the case with refinery fire apparatus, which carry large quantities of foam - much more than typical municipal pumpers usually do.

Imperial Oil - the Canadian branch of Exxon, and using the Esso brand name, operated a refinery in Imperoyal, adjacent to South Woodside, Nova Scotia, from the time of World War I until late 2013. Located on the east side of Halifax harbour, opposite the city of Halifax, the refinery was once fairly remote and thus maintained its own fire fighting capability. However as South Woodside was absorbed into the City of Dartmouth, which eventually merged into the Halifax Regional Municipality, and the area around the refiney became populated, the municipal fore departments were also able to assist in emergencies.
Nevertheless Imperial Oil kept foam trucks in the refinery. 

Now with the refinery shut down, and the facility in use as a tank storage operation, its fire department is downsizing, and two of its foam pumpers appear to be surplus. Both were built by Chubb National Fire of Exton, Pennsylvania - probably to a standard Exxon pattern. On White/GMC commercial chassis, that would date them from the 1988 to 1995 era. (Volvo acquired White in 1980, and GMC heavy truck in 1987, and used the White/GMC brand until changing to Volvo in 1995). However it was not until a few years into the new brand that Volvo dared place its diagonal arrow on the grilles.

Unit #1 is a short hood unit:

Unit #3 is a long hood version, with a few added features, including extra air horns, grille mounted lights and reflective stripe. Quad headlights were also a standard White/GMC feature by the time, as was the chrome edge on the tombstone grille. These were the best looking Whites or GMCs in many years.

These two have been parked outdoors in a parking lot on Pleasant Street for a few months now. They are still licensed, and appear to be operational, so I expect to see them gone soon.

The Chubb name was dropped when the company was taken over by Kidde, but the National Foam brand is still in use for a variety of fire fighting equipment.

No comments:

Post a Comment