Virginia’s Longest Aerial Ladder?

by Mike Sanders   mnsand@visuallink.com

Any idea what Virginia department runs the longest ladder in terms of aerial or platform length?  The size of the aerial ladder on Virginia’s trucks/platforms come in a variety of sizes.  55′, 75′, 100′, 105′, 110′, and other sizes all make up ladder trucks across the Commonwealth.

Berryville, Virginia Truck 1, the 1984/1997 Emergency One Hurricane 135’ that was previously Truck 10 in Fairfax County. “Longest Stick In The Valley”.

In 1983, E-One began production of the StratoSpear 135 foot aerial ladder, which became the tallest ladder available in America.  It was a five-section ladder with a 200 pound tip load and at the time had the same jack spread as E-One’s 95 foot platform.  A pre-piped waterway was also available at the tip of the fourth fly section.

Fairfax County Truck 10 – a 1984 Emergency One Hurricane 135’. Photographed in 1987 at Bailey’s Cross Roads Station 10.

In 1984, E-One introduced its Hurricane custom chassis, which became popular with a wide variety of Virginia fire departments.  Also in 1984, Fairfax County purchased two 135′ rear mount ladder trucks which were built by E-One on the Hurricane chassis.  Both were built one after the other at the E-One plant, with one assigned E-One serial number 3520 and the other serial number 3521.  These two ladder trucks were assigned to areas with taller buildings in Fairfax County.  Serial number 3520 went to Truck 10 at the Bailey’s Cross Roads station and Truck 29 in Tyson’s Corner received serial number 3521.

Fairfax County Truck 29 from Tysons Corner. This 1984 Emergency One Hurricane 135’ was rebuilt in 1996 by Emergency One to include a four door cab. Truck 10 had a similar rehab. Photographed in 1996 at Fire Station 29 in Tysons Corner.

Some other information you might find interesting regarding Fairfax County’s two 135′:

  • The two Fairfax County 135′ were the fourth and fifth 135 foot ladders built by E-One.
  • Fairfax County was the only jurisdiction at the time to have two 135 foot ladders in service.
  • The aerial’s were prepiped to the 110′ level and equipped with 1000gpm nozzles.
  • Both trucks had unique windows in the cab roof above the driver and officer positions.  These windows allowed the officer and driver to view the upper floors when arriving on the scene.  The windows could also be covered with a panel to keep out sunlight.

Both Fairfax County ladder trucks went through an extensive rebuild to further their service life.  In 1996, Truck 29 was returned to E-One for work which included the addition of a four door cab.  In 1997, Truck 10 from Bailey’s Cross Roads had similar work completed.  Truck 29 was removed from service in Fairfax County around 2003.  I do not know where this truck ended up once leaving Fairfax County.

Schaumburg, Illinois Truck 1, a 1990 Emergency One Hush 135’ painted in the traditional black over red in the Chicago area. This ladder truck was later obtained by Namozine, Virginia. Photo courtesy of Bill Friedrich.

Truck 10, on the other hand, joined the apparatus roster of the John H. Enders Fire Company in Berryville, Virginia.  Fairfax County sold the 1984/1997 E-One Hurricane 135′ to Berryville in 2002, and today it continues to provide protection to Berryville and the surrounding Clarke County area.  As depicted on the front cab, it is definitely the “Longest Stick In The Valley”.

Namozine, Virginia in Dinwiddie County currently operates the old 1990 E-One 135’ from Schaumburg, IL and had it repainted to their department colors of red and white. Photographed in 2008 behind the Namozine fire station.

Across the country in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Illinois a 1990 E-One Hush 135′ rear mount was delivered.  Painted in the traditional black over red that a variety of departments in the Chicago area had adopted (after the Chicago FD), this E-One ladder was assigned serial number 8006.  In approximately 2002, Schaumburg sold their 135′ ladder truck and it was obtained by the Namozine VFD located in Dinwiddie County, not far from Richmond.  The E-One was repainted in red and white and today serves as Truck 4 for Namozine.

So Berryville and Namozine take the honors.  I believe these two 135′ ladder trucks are the “longest” aerials in the state of Virginia.  Am I correct?  Please comment to this article or email me with additional information.

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