American LaFrance Closes its Doors
Almost six years after filing bankruptcy, longtime fire apparatus builder American LaFrance told employees that January 17 was their last day. All three of the company’s facilities (Moncks Corner, SC, Los Angeles, CA and Ephrata, PA) closed at the end of the business day.
American LaFrance, which was founded in 1873, was purchased by Freightliner in 1995. In 2005, investment firm Patriarch Partners took ownership of American LaFrance. The company actually opened a new 497,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Summerville, SC, during the summer of 2007, but ended up filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2008 citing, among other things, $100 million in debt. The company closed the doors on its Hamburg, NY, facility later that year and moved those operations to Ephrata.
In a statement to its employees, American LaFrance said it was advising its customers that they would be able to continue obtaining replacement parts and service for vehicles manufactured by American LaFrance from a “new third-party vendor.” Information regarding that vendor was unavailable at press time.