Smeal had a well-laid-out traditional ladder truck (no pump) lettered for East Greenville, Pennsylvania. The rear slide-in ladder compartment was very businesslike, featuring a 40-foot extension, 28-foot extension, 24-foot extension, and a 14-foot combination ladder plus a bunch of hooks. A folding ladder, Little Giant ladder and a couple of roof ladders were carried elsewhere. What intrigued me was the 40-foot extension was a bangor. It had tormentor poles and it was a three-section ladder. I knew there were three-section 35-foot ladders but never gave much thought about a three-section 40-, 45-, or even a 50-foot extension ladder.
What’s the difference? An Alcolite 40-foot two-section weighs 214 pounds and is 22 feet, four inches long, and a three-section weighs 223 pouns and is 16 feet eight inches long. Duo-Safety’s 40-foot two-section weighs 213 pounds and is 23 feet, four inches long, and a 40-foot three-section weighs 215 pounds and is 16 feet, 10 inches long. There’s not much variance in weight and lengths between the manufacturers. However, each will want you to read their individual specs! The difference in stowed lengths between both manufacturers’ two- and three-section ladders is significant. There is an eight-foot difference in a fifty footer.
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