Pierce Reports That Previous Damage Caused Boston Aerial Ladder Accident
APPLETON, Wis. (February 23, 2007) – Pierce Manufacturing Inc., reported today that the Pierce 100-foot medium-duty ladder involved in an accident with the Boston Fire Department had been damaged in one or more previous incidents. Pierce believes this damage led to the malfunction on Tuesday, February 20. In response to the Tuesday night accident, Pierce immediately dispatched two aerial engineers who analyzed the ladder and found:

  • Pre-existing damage to the turntable console that houses the ladder controls.
  • A new “neutral” position had been hand-written next to the RAISE/LOWER control lever on the console.
  • Damage to the linkage on the RAISE/LOWER valve. The linkage was both bent and loose.

This damage prevented the ladder from maintaining its position when the operator released the control valve, after positioning the ladder at the fire scene. In effect, the damaged control system lowered the ladder onto the building, resulting in the damage to the ladder.

Boston Fire Chief Kevin MacCurtain said, “We’re extremely pleased with Pierce’s assistance on this incident. Their engineers arrived quickly and completed a thorough inspection of our other three Pierce ladder trucks. After hearing the engineers’ report, I was confident in putting these ladders back in service, and confident in sending them to respond to a six-alarm fire that night. The Pierce ladders operated flawlessly at the blazing North End fire.” Chief McCurtain continued, “Based on these inspections and the performance we have experienced with their apparatus, I have all the confidence in the world in Pierce apparatus. Boston Fire Department looks forward to working with Pierce on repairing and returning Ladder 15 to service.”

Wilson Jones, Pierce vice president of sales and marketing, added, “We are relieved and thankful that no one was injured as a result of this accident. We take any incidents involving our fire apparatus very seriously, because we understand just how critical it is that they perform at all times, and our response to this incident reflected that.”

The three other Pierce medium-duty aerial ladders in use with the Boston Fire Department were also inspected, found free of damage and returned to service.

Pierce has discussed their findings with the Boston Fire Department and will be issuing a final written report to the department on Monday, February 26.

Pierce Manufacturing Inc., a subsidiary of Oshkosh Truck Corporation [NYSE: OSK], is the leading North American manufacturer of custom fire apparatus. Products include custom and commercial pumpers, aerials, rescue trucks, wildland trucks, minipumpers, elliptical tankers, and homeland security apparatus. In addition, Pierce designs its own foam systems and was the first company to introduce the Side Roll Protection™ System to fire apparatus. To learn more about Pierce, visit www.piercemfg.com.

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