Belmont Hills PA New Fire Apparatus Gets Golden

Before Belmont Hills Fire Company (PA) took delivery of a new ladder truck, a few finishing touches were added to the 54,000 pound truck.

Dan Danzenbaker, a commercial painter, spent nearly a week painting on 23 carat gold leaf. Paper thin pieces of gold were carefully lettered and varnished to reflect that station. The tradition goes back to the days of hand drawn fire equipment, said Danzenbaker.

He estimated the amount of gold on Belmont Hills new truck was about $500. “They use a fair amount of gold leaf; their small pieces have some detail in them. They take a lot of pride in their trucks; if you take a look at their other ones, which are 10 years old, they still look brand new. It’s one things that’s special with the fire service, there’s a lot of pride involved that isn’t in a lot of other things now a days.”

Danzenbaker said that a perk of his job is traveling around the region and seeing the different apparatus being built.

“You realize that every town has its own look, some are very fancy, some are very traditional and some are trying to have a new look.”

He said some departments have switched to stick-on letters to save on costs  but he said many stations found the stick on letters don’t hold up over time and have to be reapplied.

Smeal of Snyder (NE) built the truck, a 75-foot ladder and a 1500-gallon-per-minute pump  and costs $686,000. The truck replaces the station’s 1991 ladder truck, which was sold for $125,000.

In addition to the aerial ladder, the truck will carry 150 feet of portable ladders, 1000 feet of hose and will seat eight firefighters. Some of the equipment from the old ladder, such as radios and air packs, will be used on the new truck.

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