Buffalo (NY) Fire Department Chooses American LaFrance

 (1) The Buffalo (NY) Fire Department has its new American LaFrance/LTI 93-foot aerial platform extended over two of its new American LaFrance pumpers. (Photos courtesy of American LaFrance.)
(1) The Buffalo (NY) Fire Department has its new American LaFrance/LTI 93-foot aerial platform extended over two of its new American LaFrance pumpers. (Photos courtesy of American LaFrance.)
 (2) The Buffalo (NY) Fire Department had American LaFrance redesign its pumper body to lower the hosebed and crosslays on the five new pumpers it ordered.
(2) The Buffalo (NY) Fire Department had American LaFrance redesign its pumper body to lower the hosebed and crosslays on the five new pumpers it ordered.
 (3) American LaFrance installed a 24-inch extended steel bumper on all five of the pumpers it delivered to the Buffalo (NY) Fire Department.
(3) American LaFrance installed a 24-inch extended steel bumper on all five of the pumpers it delivered to the Buffalo (NY) Fire Department.
 (4) Each of the five new pumpers carries a Waterous 1,500-gpm midship pump and a 500-gallon water tank.
(4) Each of the five new pumpers carries a Waterous 1,500-gpm midship pump and a 500-gallon water tank.

Standardization of its fleet is the mantra sounded at the Buffalo (NY) Fire Department in an effort to efficiently manage apparatus repairs and maintenance and provide seamless tactical platforms for firefighters.

Those are two of the chief reasons why the department chose American LaFrance to supply it with five pumpers and two aerial platforms recently. Andy Adinolfi, superintendent of fire apparatus for the department, says it has worked on standardizing its apparatus for a number of years and now boasts 15 American LaFrance pumpers out of 19 first line rigs. On the aerial side, the department uses six American LaFrance aerials—five platforms and one ladder—out of a total of nine first line aerials. The apparatus runs out of 19 stations spread throughout the 42-square-mile city in northwestern New York state.

“With these last five pumpers, we called for a completely redesigned body,” Adinolfi says. “We lowered the hosebed and the crosslays to 50 inches off the tailboard, so it’s much easier for a firefighter to grab a line without having to stretch up too much.” Each of the five pumpers carries a Waterous 1,500-gallon-per-minute (gpm) pump and a 500-gallon water tank. A five-inch intake is located at the rear, where 2½- and 1¾-inch preconnects are located. The three crosslays carry 1¾-inch lines, and the units can pump foam to all handlines. “Basically they are set up as traditional pumpers,” Adinolfi says, “although a couple of our pumpers located on the outskirts of town near the highways have portable hydraulic tools on them. Otherwise, most of our rescue equipment, as well as a lot of tools, are carried on the [ladder] trucks.”

The two aerials Buffalo bought from American LaFrance are ALF/LTI 93-foot mid-mount platforms with 2,000-gpm waterways. Tip loads are 1,000 pounds dry and 500 pounds wet. The aerials carry Hale 8FG 2,000-gpm pumps but no water tanks. “We haven’t had water tanks on our aerials since 2005,” Adinolfi observes. “We want them to be trucks, not quints. And, while all our vehicle bodies are stainless steel, no water tanks on the aerials makes them more maneuverable because of the weight of the vehicles.”

Kevin Hyde, vice president of fire business enterprise for American LaFrance, says his staff spent considerable time with Buffalo Fire Department representatives at preconstruction meetings and during construction conferences. “Safety is a key to the design of the Buffalo vehicles,” Hyde points out. “For instance, on the pumpers, the lower hosebed and crosslays make it easier to access the hose loads. As far as reloading hose, we put a 28-inch-deep rear step on the pumpers, which makes it safer for firefighters when repacking hose.”

Hyde adds that dropping the height of the hosebed required some changes to the pump and body structures, but the American LaFrance staff worked closely with Adinolfi and his people to design the vehicles to fit Buffalo’s needs. He also notes that all seven of the Buffalo vehicles have pre-2010 emissions diesel engines in addition to stainless steel bodies.

Richard Ball, American LaFrance’s director of marketing, points out that the Buffalo Fire Department had a lot of confidence in American LaFrance and its LTI product because of its experience with vehicles delivered in the past. “LTI has evolved into a strong brand name,” Ball says. “We build the aerial chassis in Summerville, South Carolina, and send them up to Ephrata, Pennsylvania, where the LTI ladder is built. We have some employees in Ephrata who have been building LTI ladders for 30 years.”

Adinolfi points out that the department is moving toward having all mid-mount aerials in its fleet. “We decided a few years ago to go to all mid-mounts for their mobility and ease of spotting at a fire,” he says. “You can move right off to the side when you pull up to a building with a mid-mount, but we had to stay with a 93-footer because the 100-footer in our city has too much tail.”

Adinolfi has positive words about the American LaFrance LTI aerials. “In our eyes, they make one of the best ladders around,” he says. “We even have a 1992 LTI in reserve. They’re steel aerials, which are a strong construction, and they last. As long as they’re maintained properly, it’s been proven to us that they last and hold up well.”


ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based freelance writer and is a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.


American LaFrance LTI Aerial

  • 148-inch American LaFrance Eagle seven-person cab
  • Detroit Diesel 515-hp Series 60 engine
  • Allison 4000 EVS-P automatic transmission
  • 22,000-pound front axle
  • 58,000-pound rear axle
  • Overall height: 10 feet, 11 inches
  • Overall length: 47 feet, 6 inches
  • Wheelbase: 269 inches
  • 93-foot mid-mount platform; 1,000-pound tip load dry, 500 pounds wet; 2,000-gpm waterway
  • Hale 8FG 2,000-gpm pump
  • One 28-foot, two-section extension ladder
  • Two 35-foot, two-section extension ladders
  • 14-foot, 16-foot, and 20-foot roof ladders (one each)
  • One 10-foot folding ladder
  • Harrison 10,000-watt hydraulic generator
  • Whelen LED warning lights

Price without equipment: $829,337


Buffalo (NY) Fire Department

Strength: 675 paid firefighters, 766 total employees; 19 stations; providing fire suppression and rescue.

Service area: Densely populated area consisting of single-family and multifamily homes, apartment complexes, high-rise structures, large industrial and business zones, and lakefront buildings covering 42 square miles, with a population of 292,648 residents.

Other apparatus: 19 pumpers (15 American LaFrance, two Crimson Fire, two Pierce Manufacturing); nine aerials (five American LaFrance platforms and one American LaFrance ladder, two Pierce ladders, one Crimson Fire platform); one heavy rescue; one EMS vehicle; one fire boat; one collapse unit; one air light response unit; one air supply unit; and one hazmat unit.


American LaFrance Pumper

  • 134-inch American LaFrance Eagle flat-roof cab, seating for six
  • Stainless steel body
  • Caterpillar C-13, 525-hp engine
  • Allison EVS 4000 transmission
  • 20,000-pound Meritor front axle
  • 24,000-pound Meritor rear axle
  • Overall height: 115 inches
  • Overall length: 33 feet, 1 inch
  • Wheelbase: 192 inches
  • Waterous 1,500-gpm midship pump
  • 500-gallon water tank
  • Internal ladder storage
  • 24-inch front bumper extension
  • Front suction and front discharge
  • Whelen LED warning light package

Price without equipment: $395,457

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