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  • Can I get a bit of help?

    Our main engine is a 86 or 87 Pirsch from the PA area. I wanted to look into the company but can't seem to find anything on them. Anyone had any experience with these trucks?

  • #2
    Pirsch was a major player in the production of fire apparatus in the US. They went out of business in 1991. They were produced in Kenosha Wisconsin and were seen in both large and small fire departments across the country.

    They were a quality piece of fire apparatus until near the end of production when some quality issues were raised.

    FyredUp
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

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    • #3
      The full name of the company, if I recall, was Peter Pirsch and Sons.
      "The uniform you wear was given to you. The respect that comes with it must be earned."

      Heretic
      Lieutenant
      Vermont

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      • #4
        do you know what kind of quality issues they had? any idea why they folded? all I seem to find is bare bones info.

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        • #5
          I may be wrong, as I am only going from memory here, but I believe a lawsuit(s) put them out of business, and I believe it was with their aerials.
          I do have to say that the Mack/Pirsch engines we had were some of the most dependable, and hard working rigs ever.
          My first engine house had a Ford/Darley for the engine, which was a real piece of sh*t. It was out of service more than it was in, so consequently I learned to pump on a Mack/Pirsch. They were small, fast, and uncomplicated. If you pulled a lever, it actually moved a gate open/closed, and you actually had set the pressure relief valve.

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          • #6
            If I remember right the first lawsuit that hurt Pirsch and if I remember right drove them out of business the first time involved a handrail.

            A firefighter was riding standing up in the juimp seat area and fell off the rig. I don't recall if he was killed or just left disabled. The lawsuit claimed the handrail was installed or designed improperly and Pirsch was to blame for the guy falling off the rig. A rather large payout was made and I believe Pirsch went out of business the first time shoretly after that. There was a brief reincarnation and then poof gone.

            FyredUp
            Crazy, but that's how it goes
            Millions of people living as foes
            Maybe it's not too late
            To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

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            • #7
              pircsh

              get your truck # off the id plate and post it on yahoo pirsch group on yahoo .com groups. we have lists and histories on most equipt out of wis. hope this helps, ike

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              • #8
                lawsuit

                to be very brief the suit you are talking about was in Brookline Mass and yes the firefighter fell off a truck returning from a call. He was standing up in the jump seat area, days of open back crew areas, fell off the truck and hit his head on the curb. He did not die from the fall but did a few years later. This put the company on shaky ground and they closed the doors a few years later.

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                • #9
                  Get ahold of the folks at Fire Apparatus Journal, they may have a back issue that would give you the story.

                  http://fireapparatusjournal.com/
                  Buckle Up, Slow Down, Arrive Alive
                  "Everybody Goes Home"

                  IACOJ 2003

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                  • #10
                    I have some help for you

                    Originally posted by tandy35481
                    Our main engine is a 86 or 87 Pirsch from the PA area. I wanted to look into the company but can't seem to find anything on them. Anyone had any experience with these trucks?
                    I know of a guy who is the Fire Inspector for the Deforest Wisconsin Fire Department, his name is Roger Bjorge, he has published a couple of books about pirsch fire engines, he will be a lot of help

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                    • #11
                      Thanks!!!

                      thanks for all the info! We have a mutual aid drill this weekend so I'll get some experience with it then. I dont want to sound paranoid, but its a holdover from my car selling days. the more you know the better armed you are against the unexpected, right?
                      Anyhow, I'll give you my take on the experience after this weekend. Thanks again everyone & have a SAFE & Happy Holiday!

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                      • #12
                        Thanks!!!

                        thanks for all the info! We have a mutual aid drill this weekend so I'll get some experience with it then. I dont want to sound paranoid, but its a holdover from my car selling days. the more you know the better armed you are against the unexpected, right?
                        Anyhow, I'll give you my take on the experience after this weekend. Thanks again everyone & have a SAFE & Happy Holiday!

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                        • #13
                          Gee, I thought BS lawsuits didn't go back quite that far...
                          Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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                          • #14
                            If I remember correctly, the basis of the suit was that the grabrails which went over the top of the cab (part of the very unique Pirsch look) "implied" to the user that it was fine to stand upright while grabbing the handrails. The jury bought the load of crap and the company had to pay out a large settlement.

                            There is still one in service in one of the fire district the ambulance service I work for covers. Was and still is a very sharp and very reliable truck.
                            Train to fight the fires you fight.

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                            • #15
                              Update!

                              went on first fire call Thursday night as part of our mutual aid agreement. 1 house approximately 80 yrs old fully ingulfed and thankfully no injuries. any doubts I may have had regarding our Pirsch pumper though were quickly dispelled!
                              Our truck holds 1000 gallons & we utilized every drop. very easy to operate the pumps and to refill. afterwards, we were using as a standby pumper. it was one of the better rigs out there that night.
                              I will continue though to hunt for info on it.

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