Author Topic: Chicago Snorkels  (Read 11669 times)

Offline mack

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Chicago Snorkels
« on: July 27, 2010, 12:38:21 AM »
Some background on the Chicago snorkels  :

"The Snorkel as a Fire apparatus has it's origins in Chicago in 1958. The Fire Commissioner Robert J. Quinn had been looking for something to replace the department's three antiquated water towers, which manufacturers were no longer making. Commissioner Quinn had watched in fascination, tree trimmers and electric-sign repairmen using trucks with two hydraulically operated elevating arms that lifted them in baskets high in the air. The workers quickly moved up and down, in and out, swung from side to side, and rotated 360 degrees.

Quinn described his ideas with the department's chief automotive engineer. "Suppose we mounted a nozzle in the basket and attached several lengths of hoseline to it. We could pump into it just as we do our water towers. These platforms will provide the maneuverability and versatility we lack in water towers that remain stationary. We'd be able to sweep the entire fire floors and at better angles, too. What's more, these same characteristics would make them ideal for rescuing people from upper floors. The Pitman Manufacturing Company, Grandview, Missouri, builder of aerial platforms, was contacted and agreed to cooperate in an experiment to test one for fire fighting.

The platforms had been invented in 1951 by Ted Thornton Trump of Oliver, British Columbia. Trump named his invention the Giraffe and built it primarily for orchards, where workers called it a cherry picker. About three years later, Firemen of New Westminster, British Columbia, lifted a hoseline in a Giraffe and used it to fight a store fire. But practical development of elevating platforms for fire fighting went no further until they sparked Quinn's innovative curiosity.

In September, 1958, Pitman delivered a 50 foot elevating platform mounted on a General Motors Corporation chassis, and the platforms was outfitted. In the Chicago Fire Department Shops. Tests showed that engines pumping into base mounted water inlets could produce a stream of 1,200 gallons per minute, through a 2" diameter nozzle, at a maximum pressure of 100 psi. The platform got its first test of fire at 1:00 am on the 18th of October, 1958. When it was called to a 4 alarm lumberyard fire on Chicago's south side. Fireman John Windle, operating the nozzle from the basket, helped to bring the blaze under control in a fraction of the time normally expected for a fire of equal magnitude. First Deputy Fire Marshal James A Bailey said "I can't believe how quickly and accurately it worked. It really plastered this fire in a hurry." Chief Fire Marshal Raymond J. Daley said "In 33 yrs of fire fighting I never saw anything as effective and maneuverable."
Our Lady of Angels fire
When reporters asked what this weird contraption was called, Windle said "It's Commissioner Quinn's Snorkel." ... From then on, the elevating platform was known as Quinn's Snorkel, and the commissioner soon became known as Snorkel Bob, for his pioneering development of one of the most versatile pieces of fire equipment ever devised.
 
The first CFD Squad Companies were organized on January 15, 1913. Squads 1,2 & 3 were formed.  In 1969 six Squads were put into service with a seventh Squad being added later. They were given the name the "Flying Squads" and operated from 1969 to 1980. These vehicles were a "Squad only" with no Snorkel and spent a lot of time helping out short handed engine companies.
 
In the 60's Chicago added three stand alone Snorkel Companies called Snorkel Squads (SS1, SS2 & SS3). On October 18, 1962 Snorkel Squad 1 (SS1) was organized which was a Snorkel that also had a chase vehicle. SS1 was stationed at the Fire Academy until it moved into the old Fire Patrol  station on N. Orleans. On June 4th, 1979 SS1 moved in with Engine 42 and a little over a year later  was disbanded on October 6th, 1980. Snorkel Squad 2 (SS2) was organized on September 3rd, 1963  and was housed with Engine 60. SS2 was disbanded on May 16th, 1969. Snorkel Squad 3 (SS3) was organized and housed in the former firehouse of Engine 66 on May 16th, 1965 and moved to the  former quarters of Engine 105 on September 2nd, 1967 where it stayed until May 1st, 1969 when it was disbanded.

In October of 1980 the CFD organized five Squad Companies with a sixth one coming two years later.  Squad Companies 1, 2 & 5 still protect the city of Chicago today. A fourth Squad, Squad 7 protects O'Hare International Airport on the cities far northwest side." Squad History Written by Dan Myers

http://midwestfiredepts.smugmug.com/Other/Chicago-Fire-Department-Squads/4314141_CfTAj



Chicago Fire Department Squad 2 and 2A
« Last Edit: July 27, 2010, 12:42:52 AM by mack »

Nycfire.net

Chicago Snorkels
« on: July 27, 2010, 12:38:21 AM »

Offline nfd2004

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Re: Chicago Snorkels
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2010, 09:00:18 AM »
"mack" I remember those early Chicago Snorkels. My father had worked for a tree service company part time and as a firefighter, I remember him also saying that these would be great for firefighting. Maybe Chicago was already using them at that time. We didn't know. Then we saw on the TV, the very tragic "Our Lady of Angels" School fire, where as your posted picture shows a Chicago Fire Dept Snorkel fighting that fire.
  On a side line, that school fire played a key role in changing fire codes for schools. At the time I was in Catholic Grammer School and remember many changes being done to doors, fire alarms put in, and I believe a fire drill every month except in the extremely cold weather. There was also a book published about that school fire which I always wanted to get, but never did. I believe one of the firefighters on the first due company lost some of his children at that fire.
  Although I've never been to Chicago, yes, the CFD still runs Snorkels with their Squad Cos. As I understand it, one goes to each working fire, called "Snorkel Squad" or just "SS#".
 

Offline Bob Dobalina

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Re: Chicago Snorkels
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2010, 10:41:17 AM »
"mack" I remember those early Chicago Snorkels. My father had worked for a tree service company part time and as a firefighter, I remember him also saying that these would be great for firefighting. Maybe Chicago was already using them at that time. We didn't know. Then we saw on the TV, the very tragic "Our Lady of Angels" School fire, where as your posted picture shows a Chicago Fire Dept Snorkel fighting that fire.
  On a side line, that school fire played a key role in changing fire codes for schools. At the time I was in Catholic Grammer School and remember many changes being done to doors, fire alarms put in, and I believe a fire drill every month except in the extremely cold weather. There was also a book published about that school fire which I always wanted to get, but never did. I believe one of the firefighters on the first due company lost some of his children at that fire.
  Although I've never been to Chicago, yes, the CFD still runs Snorkels with their Squad Cos. As I understand it, one goes to each working fire, called "Snorkel Squad" or just "SS#".
 

There's actually two books written about the Our Lady of the Angels fire.    "To Sleep with the Angels" was written by David Cowan and John Kuenster.   I thought that it was very well done, but I read on some website, that some survivors of the fire didn't like it, and felt that the authours left pertinent info out.

The second book, which I have not read,  is titled "The fire that will not die", by Michele McBride, who is a OLA fire survivor. 

Both books are available on Amazon.com

Offline kfd274

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Re: Chicago Snorkels
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2010, 11:03:43 AM »
Does Chicago have any tower ladders?

Offline raybrag

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Re: Chicago Snorkels
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2010, 12:15:42 PM »
Unless I am badly mistaken, they have no aerialscopes . . .  but they do have tower ladders.  Here's one (last picture in the set):

http://njfirepictures.smugmug.com/FIRE-APPARATUS/Chicago-Fire-Apparatus/2468888_GjqPj#129501669_FSn9E

They also run one at O'Hare (pic #18):

http://nordfirephotos.smugmug.com/CHICAGO-FIRE-DEPARTMENT/Chicago-Fire-Department-OHare/1692201_QnTam#83122434_3yb4z
Ray Braguglia
Newport News VA

Offline Bulldog

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Re: Chicago Snorkels
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2010, 01:41:42 PM »
Almost all departments have gotten rid of Snorkels and have replaced them with tower ladders.  I wonder how long it will be before Chicago does the same?

Offline nfd2004

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Re: Chicago Snorkels
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2010, 02:16:17 PM »

 
There's actually two books written about the Our Lady of the Angels fire.    "To Sleep with the Angels" was written by David Cowan and John Kuenster.   I thought that it was very well done, but I read on some website, that some survivors of the fire didn't like it, and felt that the authours left pertinent info out.
The second book, which I have not read,  is titled "The fire that will not die", by Michele McBride, who is a OLA fire survivor. 
Both books are available on Amazon.com

  Thank you, I'll order them today. I wasn't aware of that second book though.

Offline kfd274

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Re: Chicago Snorkels
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2010, 02:21:48 PM »
Unless I am badly mistaken, they have no aerialscopes . . .  but they do have tower ladders.  Here's one (last picture in the set):

http://njfirepictures.smugmug.com/FIRE-APPARATUS/Chicago-Fire-Apparatus/2468888_GjqPj#129501669_FSn9E

They also run one at O'Hare (pic #18):

http://nordfirephotos.smugmug.com/CHICAGO-FIRE-DEPARTMENT/Chicago-Fire-Department-OHare/1692201_QnTam#83122434_3yb4z


Thanks Raybrag.  Some great pictures there.

Offline XPFD3

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Re: Chicago Snorkels
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2010, 02:40:16 PM »
Philadelphia still operates 2 Snorkels as front line ladder companies.  Snorkel 2 at 4th & Arch Streets in Olde City (near Independence Hall) and Snorkel 28 at Loretto and Cottman Avenues in Northeast Philadelphia.  28 has been down for repairs for a long time due to a fire caused by the boom striking overhead electrical wires.  I do not believe the articulating snorkel, last made by American LaFrance, is available "new" anymore.

Offline rdm258

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Re: Chicago Snorkels
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2010, 02:47:47 PM »
The first Snorkel to be placed as an actual Ladder Comapny was in Memphis,TN. They had to carry about 48 feet of ground ladders at that time.
Pretty sure Baltimore has their snorkel in the Spare pool.
Dept in PA still using 1  http://www.mediafirecompany.com/apparatus.php
Philly's Snorkel on fire   http://statter911.com/files/2010/03/PA-Philadelphia-Snorkel-28.jpg
« Last Edit: July 27, 2010, 02:58:33 PM by rdm258 »

Offline kfd274

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Re: Chicago Snorkels
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2010, 04:01:09 PM »
Philadelphia FD, in addition to the two snorkels, operates five SQUIRTS:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/planestrainsandfiretrucks/sets/72157623654718975/

Video of SQUIRT 43:

Philadelphia Fire Department Squirt 43

Offline R1SmokeEater

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Re: Chicago Snorkels
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2010, 05:02:46 PM »
Almost all departments have gotten rid of Snorkels and have replaced them with tower ladders.  I wonder how long it will be before Chicago does the same?


I don't think Chicago ever will get rid of them !! Like said above, they were streamlined into being the 2nd piece of the Squad Co's, are very compact,and see much work !!
For those interested, here are 4-sites I follow, GREAT Chicago action photogs:

Gordon Nord:
http://nordfirephotos.smugmug.com/CHICAGO-FIRE-DEPARTMENT-FIRES

Tim Olkee:
http://olkee.smugmug.com/Mabas-Division-9-City-Of

Scott Miller:(inactive for a while)
http://samillerimaging.smugmug.com/

and Steve Redick:
http://ksc711.smugmug.com/Modern-Fires-Rigs


« Last Edit: July 27, 2010, 05:06:29 PM by R1SmokeEater »

Offline grumpy grizzly

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Re: Chicago Snorkels
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2010, 06:49:50 PM »
I may be mistaken but first Snorkel was rejected by Chicago. It was purchased by the nearby suburb of Bedford Park where it saw many years of service :D
FAC 20 TASS 68-69 SVN. Hue/PhuBai , Boston Spark from 71-79, CFD 79-Pres

Offline kidfrmqns

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Re: Chicago Snorkels
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2010, 04:23:59 PM »
I just got back from Chicago yesterday. I am amazed that I didn't see any tillers. They have some very tight streets and alleys. I really wanted to stop into one of their houses and ask about some general SOP's but ran out of time. It was my first time there. What a great city. I will definitely get back there some day and hope to do some buffing.

Offline grumpy grizzly

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Re: Chicago Snorkels
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2010, 05:02:14 PM »
CFD got rid of their tillers about 10 years ago. And remember Boston was totally a tiller operation until the early 80's when E-One convinced the commissioner to try one, Ladder 17 ran the test. Now they are totally rear mounts including their tower units. ;D
FAC 20 TASS 68-69 SVN. Hue/PhuBai , Boston Spark from 71-79, CFD 79-Pres

 

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