A MODERN HOOK AND LADDER TRUCK.
The most important thing for a fire department is a good steamer. It has been proved in many recent cases that, where sole reliance was placed on hydrant pressure, the destruction to property was great. Sioux City, Atlanta and many other places may be mentioned, where it became necessary to add engines to the equipment, after conHagrations had demonstrated that to rely solely on fireplugs was a fatal error. The portable engine is a necessity where valuable property has to be protected, and such places as do not possess one may some day find out that a grievous mistake had been made. The pressure in the mains mav be good; but it is necessary to reinforce it with a good engine or two ready at all times to meet the most exacting conditions in fighting big fires. Next to the engine comes the hook and ladder truck. No department is properly equiped without a curtain number of these indispensible apparatus, they are necessary in all departments whether they are small or large. Its uses are many, principally in the work of rescuL.aud enabling firemen to reach a certain point in a building and and attack the fire at close quarters. In many small places the combination truck is fitted with tools to make it a very valuable adjunct in a fire department. The great improvements in the construction of trucks by using trussed ladders, instead of the old solid style, and the adoption of scientific means of raising them have had much to do with their popularity. While it is necessary to carry a certain weight to insure safety and rigidity, still the cutting down of—say, 2,000 lbs., in an ordinary city aerial truck must be considered a great achievement; yet this has practically been accomplished. Considerable discussion as to the proportion of trucks to engines to be employed has from time to time taken place, and it is conceded that one to every four or five, depending entirely on the other equipment and size of the department, is sufficient. I he trussed ladder combines strength and lightness—the two great essentials in its construction. In the accompanying illustration a section of the ladder used bv the American LaFrancc Fire Engine company is shown. By this a clear conception of its rigidity is given as well as of the absolute safety afforded by the bolting at the rungs. It was after years of experimenting that this ladder was perfected, and it is used in all the trucks manufactured by the company, from tinaerial to the city and village size. Only a few years ago this ladder was placed on the market, and very soon its merits became known, so much so that it is now generally recognised for design, material employed in its construction and careful workmanship as fulfilling all the requirements for such an important part in the truck.