“Quillers”

Tillered quints or “quillers” as they are affectionately known are rather rare, even in today’s fire service where multi-purpose apparatus are commonplace. Typically operated by career departments on the West Coast utilizing 4-5 man truck companies, “quillers” are extremely rare on the East Coast where there are only six known rigs. Interestingly enough, four of these rigs are operated by 100% volunteer departments in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania with the remaining two being run by career departments in Raleigh and High Point, North Carolina. 

FIREHOUSES

MONUMENTS

ARTWORK

SLOGANS

KITSCHY

ANTIQUES

FIREMATIC HISTORY

Gladwyne (PA) FC, Ladder 24 - 2007 KME Predator 100’ 2000 gpm/350 gal./CAFS

Ladder 24 features a six man tilt cab with full height rear doors, rear vision camera system, a Roto-ray warning device mounted on the front grill, a 2,000 GPM Hale Q-MAX pump equipped with CAFS, a poly water tank, crosslays & telescopic floodlights. The trailer features a 4 section steel 100’ Aerialcat ladder, 10kw Smart Power hydraulic generator, 1,000’ of 5” LDH supply line and 184 feet of ground ladders. When delivered, it was only the second tractor drawn aerial in Montgomery County (Willow Grove FD operates a 100’ tiller). As the company had never operated a tillered aerial before, driver training was completed at the Lancaster County Public Safety Training Center using the Eden Fire Company’s 2006 Pierce Dash tiller (interestingly enough, Eden’s rig is also numbered Ladder 24).

Nyack (NY) FD, Ladder 10-98 - 2000 Seagrave 100’/250 gpm/200 gal.

Operated by Empire Hook & Ladder Co# 1, this rig is the first known “quiller” on the East Coast. Equipped with 250’ of wooden ground ladders, it is one of two tractor drawn aerials operated by the Nyack FD (Chelsea H & L Co# 2 operates a 1999 Pierce Quantum 100’ tiller also equipped with wooden ground ladders). Organized in 1863, Empire Hook & Ladder Co# 1 has operated a tillered aerial since 1916 with a total of four Seagrave rigs serving since 1930.

Special thanks are extended to those who provided specifications on these apparatus:

  1. Fire apparatus photographer & historian Bruce W. Anderson (Gladwyne Ladder 24)

  2. Garfield FD Chief John Kopacz (Garfield Truck 4)

  3. Leo FC of Red Lion Captain Ben Rodkey (Leo FC Truck 34)

Garfield (NJ) FD, Truck 4 - 2013 Spartan ERV 103’/1500 gpm/200 gal.

Replacing a 1992 Simon-Duplex/LTI 100’/500/200, this rig features seating for 11 (five with voice activated radio headsets), a 10kw hydraulic generator, two 200’ 1-3/4” crosslays and a pre-piped deck gun. It is equipped with a total of twelve SCBA, nine of which are mounted in SCBA seats in the cab. This is the fifth tillered aerial in the company’s history - this rig sets a further precedent by being the fourth “quiller” operated by Garfield Fire Co# 4 (previous rigs included a 1950’s era Seagrave, 1970’s Maxim & the 1992 Simon-Duplex/LTI which this rig replaced - all have had progressively larger pumps).

Leo FC of Red Lion (PA), Truck 34 - 2002 HME/Westates 105’/1500 gpm/168 gal.

Originally operated by the campus fire department of University of California - Davis (ironically as Truck 34), this rig was acquired by Leo Fire Co. in 2012 and entered service in mid 2013 after receiving graphics upgrades. Measuring in at 68’ long, it features seating for seven (five with headsets), the ability to operate as a flying standpipe and holds the distinction of being the only tillered aerial in York County. It is equipped with 650’ of 1-3/4” attack line (pre-connects and trash line), 500’ of 3” and 800” of 4” supply line and 142’ of ground ladders (with plans to add a 36’ extension to the ladder complement). This rig replaced a 2003 KME 95’ mid-mount tower ladder that was originally built for the City of Philadelphia and ultimately rejected - following numerous mechanical issues, the fire company chose to look at replacement options during which time the concept of a tillered aerial was proposed. After careful consideration based on their response area, manpower availability and operational concerns, a tiller was agreed upon and the search began - based on availability and other factors, this rig was selected giving Leo Fire Co. the distinction of being only the fourth volunteer department on the East Coast to currently operate a “quiller” (of the six total, all four shown above are operated by volunteer depts. with the remaining two by career depts. based in North Carolina).