B y B o b V a c c a r o F or those of you in the fire service who are into fire service and fire apparatus history, you might remember the introduction of the Snor- kel in Chicago (IL). In 1958, Commissioner Quinn of Chicago had watched tree trimmers and other line workers operate from bucket trucks around the city and asked: Why not take the same concept and put a bigger platform, a nozzle, and connect the
nozzle with hose and pump to it like they did with
their antiquated water towers?
The Pitman Manufacturing Company of
Grandview built the first vehicle on a GMC chassis,
followed by the Snorkel Fire Equipment Company,
which built numerous types on just about every
conceivable chassis with different body work.
Snorkel-type apparatus were made by several
companies. Snorkel made theirs in St. Joseph, Missouri, on a variety of custom and commercial chassis. American LaFrance made a version called the
Aero Chief. Hy Ranger made one that was easily
distinguished by its lattice style construction. Many
of those were built on Ward LaFrance chassis.
Back in 2013, ALF/LTI went bankrupt and the
NEW APPARATUS NEEDED
Snorkel and Squrt engineering went by the way-
side—or so we all thought. In 2014, Smeal bought
the rights to LTI and the engineering designs and
began to remarket and build the newly designed
apparatus under the LTC name.
During the comeback, Chief Bob Wilson and
the Frankfort Fire Protection District (FFPD)
were in the process of looking to purchase a new
aerial. According to Wilson, the department had
purchased a used Snorkel back in 1992 from the
Geneva (IL) Fire Department, and it was used
Smeal designs a Snorkel
for the Frankfort (IL) Fire Protection District
The Smeal/LTC 55-foot Snorkel built on a Smeal Sirius II chassis. (Photos by Smeal.)
• Smeal Sirius II chassis.
• 450-hp Cummins ISL9 engine with an
Allison EVS 400 transmission.
• 1,500-gpm Waterous pump.
• 500-gallon water tank.
• 55-foot Snorkel articulating boom.
• Smeal QL- 12 peer-to-peer electrical system.
• 10-kW Harrison hydraulic generator.