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Ferrara Builds 109-Foot Aerial for the Shreveport (LA) Fire Department

Ferrara Inferno Rear-Mount 109-Foot Aerial

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The Shreveport aerial features 100,000-pounds per square inch steel construction, has a 500-pound tip load wet, 750-pounds dry, and a 2.5:1 structural safety factor.

By Alan M. Petrillo

The Shreveport (LA) Fire Department has been a longtime customer of Ferrara Fire Apparatus, so it was no surprise that Shreveport turned to Ferrara when it needed a new aerial.

“We’ve been working with Ferrara since 200,3 and this is the 19th vehicle we’ve purchased from them,” says Scott Wolverton, Shreveport’s chief. “They have been very good to us in terms of what they build and also their follow-up on service.”

Wolverton credits Shreveport’s chief of safety Skip Pinkston, who served as chair of the truck committee, with the resulting aerial ladder. “The truck was a demo being built for FDIC, and when we found out about it, we asked Ferrara if we could plug our specs into the truck,” Wolverton notes. Skip and his committee worked out all the details with Ferrara, and everything fell into place for us. We are very pleased at how the truck turned out.”

The HD-107R ladder is built on an Inferno custom chassis and 3/16-inch thick aluminum 100-inch-wide extended medium cab with extruded subframe and an eight-inch raised roof, notched for the aerial ladder. The cab interior is extreme duty, all aluminum, coated with F-shield. Wheelbase on the truck is 257 inches, overall length is 44 feet 2¾-inches, and overall height is 11 feet 10 inches.

The rig is powered by a 500-horsepower Cummins ISX12 engine and an Allison 4000 EVS automatic transmission and carries a Danhard heavy duty air conditioning system, and rescue-style compartments on both left and right sides.

The aerial is a heavy-duty, four-section ladder made from 100,000-psi steel that has a 109-foot vertical reach at 80 degrees and a 101-foot horizontal reach. The aerial has a 750-pound tip load dry and a 500-pound tip load when flowing water through its 1,500-gpm waterway. At the tip of the ladder is an Akron StreamMaster II 1,500-gpm monitor that flows 30 degrees above horizontal and a 2½-inch discharge outlet in the waterway. The aerial also has LED rung lighting and glow-in-the-dark rung covers, FRC LED SoBrite tracking and tip lights, an FRC ACT intercom, creeper controls at the ladder tip, two 250-pound lifting eyes, and a rescue eyelet and roller for rope rescue.

“I really like the ladder pipe at the tip, especially the separate 2½-inch connection, which is a big plus for us,” Wolverton says. “We have a lot of parking garages in the city, and some of our brush trucks won’t fit inside because of the hose reels on top of the rigs. With the aerial ladder, we can hook up a 2½-inch hose line to the tip and run the hose across to the fourth floor of a parking garage and get to a fire that way.”

Paul Christiansen, aerial sales manager for Ferrara, notes that the HD-107R aerial ladder delivered to Shreveport is different from what Ferrara has offered in the past. “The ladder sections are nested tighter than in the past, which gives a lower overall height to the aerial,” Christiansen says. “Also, we now have much higher hand rail heights, increasing them from 17 3/8 inches to 21 5/16 inches with the HD107R.” Christiansen also adds that the vehicle “has a 2.5:1 safety factor, which is an increase of 25 percent from our past aerials.”

In addition, he points out the jack spread is only 14 feet instead of 18 feet, which means the truck can set up in tighter spaces and still have the ability to short jack. Ferrara also changed the vehicle’s ladder controls, now using electric over hydraulic as its standard. “The elevation and extension functions have auto feathering built in,” Christiansen says, “which eliminates tip lash if a valve is closed quickly.”

The HD-107 aerial ladder carries Zico SCBA brackets, an FRC InView 360-degree camera system, Federal Navigator LED light bars, Federal LED warning lights, and Federal LED scene lights.

Wolverton notes that there is a lot of storage space on the new truck. “It has great SCBA bottle storage for us, carrying 16 bottles,” he says, “and has the most compartment space I’ve seen on a ladder in my 25-year career. They are filled with slide-out and pull-down trays and shelves, and there are two transverse compartments where we can store our Stokes, backboards, and confined space equipment.”

The Shreveport Fire Department has 604 personnel operating out of 22 fire stations, including an ARFF station at Shreveport Regional Airport, to protect 122 square miles and a population of 201,000. The department runs 21 engines, seven ladders, two heavy rescues, six battalion chiefs, and 10 ALS ambulances.

ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist, the author of three novels and five nonfiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.

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