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1985 Seagraves Aerial Ladder

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  • 1985 Seagraves Aerial Ladder

    It has been a while since I last posted and it would seem that I have a burning topic, pardon the pun, to post again.

    We have a 1985 Seagrave 100' Standard Aerial Ladder in my Division which has recently been failed by two ladder testing companies due to excessive twist to the left side of the ladder. It had passed for the previous three years. A Seagrave salesman (recently retired from the Covengton, Ky FD I believe) showed up after being called by a councilman and declared that the ladder had been tested incorrectly. He stated that the 3" hose (100') and the master stream must be removed to check for the twist in the ladder. Mind you that the ladder was delivered from the manufacturer with this in place on the left side of the ladder and had always been tested with this in place. This salesman "tested" the ladder and deemed it "passed". So, we asked Seagrave, who tests your ladders at the factory? The response - Midwest and Underwriter's Laboratories. Can you guess who we hired? Well, UL came in, did the testing and failed the ladder for excessive twist to the left.

    Seems pretty cut and dry, right? Well, Seagrave has admitted over the phone that the removing the hose is an "unwritten" rule (UL was unaware of it) and they are considering deeming the ladder safe based on the word of the salesman. (First they want to check with the Legal Department though!) Now keep in mind it has failed three times in the last six months!

    The councilman who called the salesman is a former fire Lt. from the Division. You say great! Well, not. He has been bragging around town how he saved the city $600,000 for stopping the purchase of a new aerial tower. By the way, he announced last week he is running for County Commissioner this year.

    The salesman from KY has failed to produce nearly every peice of documentation that has been requested from him including a letter stating what repairs he has made on the ladder thus far and a statement on Seagrave's letterhead as to if the ladder is safe to be used or not. He has shown up with a welder and performed work for $1000 without meeting the Fire Chief's request for an estimate in order to secure a PO for the work. He just showed up a month ago (an hour before council meeting) with welder in tow and began work. By the way - that entire senario is illegal in the State of Ohio. He has managed to send a bill though!

    The councilman has told the Fire Chief that he (the Chief)has a personality conflict with the salesman. Yeah, well so do I and I haven't even met him!

    Tonight we go back before council and we will see what happens. I suspect it could be interesting. About 15 members of the Fire Division will be at the Council meeting (normally council draws only about 25 citizens anyway). This councilman I have been mentioning is also going to the County Firefighters Association Meeting next Monday to ask for the Associations endorsement in his run for Commisssioner - not if I have anything to do with it! I should also mention that this same councilman has his one and only son on our Fire Division - and his son is very unhappy with his father!

    We have also been without an Aerial Ladder now for three and one-half months, the first due mutual aid ladder is 18 miles away, next due is 30 miles. Think ISO would be interested in all of this? How about the 9 major manufacturing facilities in our city or their insurance companies?

    I am interested in your thoughts - and if you know any good attorneys in this area of expertise!

    Stay safe...

    [This message has been edited by Capt. Skippy (edited January 24, 2000).]

  • #2
    Salesmen are just that...salesmen. Even though he is retired firefighter, he is not an engineer. He says the ladder is safe but cannot produce the documentation. If it isn't documented, it isn't done! I would have more faith in the testing companies opinion.

    This councilman has forgotten where he came from. Ask him if he would guarantee the safety of his son if he were on the aerial. It sounds that he'll use anything to become a county commissioner....He's become a prostitute for politics. His cost for his "services" will be increased insurance premiums for every member of your community. Be sure to let the ISO know of this!

    Seagrave Fire Apparatus will be opening themselves up to a major lawsuit if the aerial fails and someone dies...look at what happened to Pirsch!

    Good luck...don't let the bastard get you down!

    Take care and be safe...Lt. Gonzo


    • #3
      No satisfactory test, then no use of aerial! We have a 1987 Seagrave 100 foot aerial. We test with an approved certification company. If they say it fails (which our 1972 did in 1986), then it fails. Documented repairs and retesting must be completed prior to use.

      This sounds like Lt. Gonzo says, politics only. The safety of the firefighters and potential victims should be foremost.

      Good luck. You will need it.


      • #4
        Update -

        Last night I spoke with the Chief prior to Council meeting. Seagrave is now proposing that we have UL retest the ladder with the salesman present. The Chief's response to Seagrave was that's great - if you are going to pay for it! We have already paid for three tests now.

        At Council the topic was mentioned in Old Business, the City Manager stated we are waiting on a response from Seagrave and not one Councilman (there are five) said a word. The Council meets twice a month, so I guess the topic will appear again on 2/7/00.

        Meanwhile, fire protection and the public suffer....

        I'll keep you posted on any changes. I am interested if anyone has encountered any thing similiar and what solutions/results were acheived.

        [This message has been edited by Capt. Skippy (edited January 24, 2000).]


        • #5
          Politicians and Salesman.... what a great bunch!!!

          I agree with the others... a failed test, is a failed test. Unwritten practices leave you wide open of liability issues.

          God forbid the ladder in kept in service and then it fails with someone on it..

          Of course then then the councilman can brag how they got sued by the family for 6 million dollars for being idiots.


          • #6
            It sounds like that in the salesmans opinion that you have a safe aerial if you don't use it.
            Does this salesman also recomend that you remove the master stream and the 3" hose every time that you want to elevate the ladder?
            Although I will readily admit that I do not understand all of the testing procedures (we dont even have an aerial) it would stand to reason to test it as it is meant to be used.

            Good luck,


            • #7
              Update -

              Looks like we are back at it again. On Wednesday 1/26/00 we will have the Seagrave salesman, the UL testing technician, the City Manager, the Director of Public Safety, the Fire Chief and myself (as the Engineer) setting up the aerial ladder for the twist test portion of the aerial ladder testing procedure.

              It seems that the Salesman states that you have to take into account (in other words, subtract) the twist of a previous section from the next. Now, I have not seen or heard this from Seagrave engineers nor is it written in any of the documentation I have seen to date. So I will be asking this salesman where from and what is his Engineering degree in, when did he aquire his Professional Engineer's certification and in what state, and what exactly is his vast experience in the design of aerial ladders come Wednesday morning.

              By the way, I don't know yet who is going to pay for the testing, but I know the Chief is not interested in paying for it!

              Additionally, thanks for all the support thus far! I just hope that everyone spreads the word about this manufacturer...if they can't stand behind their product in a prudent and professional manner then maybe we, as a service, should be looking elsewhere to purchase and let Seagrave know that this type of manuever is why they have lost business!


              • #8
                My father is a lawyer, and he has told me you need to have it checked for saftey. And then if it fails you have the right to sue the salesman for telling you it is safe. Also the welder, any work done by a "person" needing a P.O. must do so first. So, in saying that. You really didn't have to pay your bill. No P.O., no reason for a bill! He also told me that you should have the hose problem looked into(factory problem) they may be liable.


                • #9
                  I know I may be late with this but I don't have the time to visit this site daily......

                  I went through the same, EXACT SAME problem about ten years ago with a bent and twisted Peter Pirsch 100' aluminum aerial ladder. We won and purchased a new Pierce Platform but in the end I lost..... I have some interesting salesman/politician stories also. Do not work with a ladder that is not certified!! QUOTE CHAPTER AND VERSE OF NFPA 1500 even if it is not law in your state. It still would be used against you (the community) in court should the ladder fail. CALL ME IF YOU HAVE NOT SETTLED THIS ISSUE YET. (906-863-5702)
                  Ted J. Pagels Fire Chief
                  [email protected]

                  Managers do the right thing.....Leaders do things right......Be a leader!


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