1. #1
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Scottdale, PA
    Posts
    9

    Unhappy 1998 American LaFrance Information Needed! HELP

    I am writing to you in hopes that you can help our cause. I am located in<br />Scottdale, PA, and attached to Station 58 Volunteer Fire Department, in PA. I am in need of a listening ear to help make a serious issue come to light.<br />Our hometown has a population of around 5,000, and is a self<br />supporting Volunteer Service. As you can guess, money and time are the two most key features, that we are always fighting. In 1998, a full push to purchase a new engine was fronted. Without going into great details (at the present time), we purchased a top of the line, American La France.<br />Since it's delivery it has been the biggest single mistake in decades for our department. Not buying the engine as per say, but buying it from<br />American La France. The paperwork trail is one that will amaze even the least educated person in firefighting. The engine was out of service at least 200 days out of the first 600 days that we had it. The new Engine suffered a blown engine around 3,900 miles, it has structural problems with the welds blistering through the paint, the pump won't work, we can't draft, the lights go out in route to calls (needless to say night time calls have a new meaning) and the list goes on. From failing at the scene of structure fires in pumping, drafting, lighting, to being unable to exit the station when it is raining.<br />As a small department, we service a large area, and offer support to<br />the departments surrounding us. The issue of the $223,790.00 "Lemon" that we have been forced to upkeep, has brought us to this point. What would have been simple fixes, were solved by deceiving means. For example: A bad Tach System Indicator Light was repaired simply by disconnecting the wiring from it, so that I seemed to be okay. There are many more examples just as this, but I'm sure that you can get a small idea as to what we are up against.<br />I have taken the time to put together a full time line of the American<br />La France Engine, complete, with the bill of sale, repairs that were to have been done, issues that are were effected by the bad service of the company (they even sent the truck to a repair service that didn't have a certified person to work on the truck), problems that are still haunting us today, and a complete reference as to what offers American LaFrance have made to "smooth the issue over. We want to make sure that before another fire fighter dies, the cause won't be a failure of the most import piece of equipment that supports the fight, The truck which brought him to the scene.<br />What I need are those departments out there that have a newer American LaFrance, to share the problems that they are dealing with so that when American LaFrance comes to the arbitrating table on the 22nd of January of this month, we can display that there are problems not just with this one engine, but many. I have found several in Detriot, Houston, Ohio, but to build a strong case for the brother fire fighters through out the state, I'd like to have as much input to support our cause. You can email me at lightdoc@cvzoom.net with your information.<br />Thanks in advance and BE SAFE

  2. #2
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    N.J.
    Posts
    12

    Post

    Light Doc<br />I think the majority of people reading your post understand what you are all about when you make statements such as " The lights go out in route to calls, Needless to say night time calls have a new meaning" I know I come to Apparatus Inovation to share constructive ideas with credible sources across the country, not to use it as a " Bath Room Wall" to leave messages as you have left.Its unfortunate you have chosen this method to attack this or any other manufacture. You are obviously a very frustrated individual who for what ever reason does not like this particular manufacture. It would be extremely interseting to hear the manufactures side of ths story, unfortunately all of us will not hear that in this form.

  3. #3
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Scottdale, PA
    Posts
    9

    Exclamation

    Dear tiller,<br />I'm sorry if you have torn feelings about our plight, and that I've come to this particular forum for help. As far as attacking anyone, I'm not. As far as crediblity, facts and figures don't lie. Since we're posting issues in regards to apparatus inovations, you would have to realize that this is not a smear tactic, nor is it an attempt to finger point as to who is to blame. Just a simple step of asking for help to solve a problem.<br /> In the laws of Pennsylvania there are not "Lemon Laws" to protect Fire Departments, and, or, emergency vehicles. So a manufactor can more or less skate through issues like ours. Other states supply legal avenues to control issues about unsafe conditions. <br /> Yes, we hope that with enough gathered information from other suffering departments and companies that will support our cause with getting a safe Engine, but also help in bringing to light this issue within our own state government. "An Inovation to the Laws Governing Fire Apparatus' in the State of Pennsylvania".<br /> On the issue of the Manufacture. We'd like to hear their side as well. We've been left in the dark, or left waiting months on end without any followup as to what can or should be done to correct the problems. <br /> I'm not one to leave someone hanging on an issue or topic, so I'll be glad to post the outcome of the meeting taking place on the 22nd of January for you to review.<br /> Finally, To answer your thoughts about my frustrations....Yes, I am a little up-set over this whole ordeal. Not so slighted that I can't see both sides of a coin. But, when no one will show you the other side of the coin you have to trust that it's not two headed. Keep in mind, that's a lot of raffles tickets, Sub Sales, Bingo's, wasted Grant money. Not to mention a lot of lost time that could have been spent with the kids and family. The real reason behind being a fireman. Saftey, and caring.

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    gunnyv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    SE MI
    Posts
    1,435

    Post

    Tiller,<br />If 1/10th of his complaints are valid (my dept has two ALFs, so I'll bet they are)he has a right to complain-and loudly. All apparatus makers have their lemons. If they don't stand behind their product and fix the problem, they get bad publicity. This is, after all, about PUBLIC SAFETY, as well as proper use of funds.

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    FyredUp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Rural Wisconsin, Retired from the burbs of Milwaukee
    Posts
    10,280

    Post

    tiller,

    I think you totally misunderstood what lightdoc is doing. I believe he came on here genuinely looking for similar instances of trouble for the arbitration hearing coming up. If this isn't the proper place to ask those questions where would you have him do it?

    Actually, tiller when I read your post my first reaction was I'll bet this guy is a ALF dealer or salesrep.

    Take care and stay safe,

    FyredUp
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

  6. #6
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    121

    Post

    Lightdoc,

    I completely sympathize with your problem as we are going through some of the same issues. Our Eagle pumper is currently at the factory to fix a long list of problems. I have left you private email

    I also believe that we need to get this issues out in the open so that the appropriate decisions can be made as to what equipment manufacturers stand behind their products and what we can rely upon.

    Take care and good luck.
    Remember,

    If you don't respond.....who will

    IACOJ EMS Bureau Member
    IACOJ Member

  7. #7
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    770

    Post

    Warwick RI has been buying ALF's every year since 1998. So far a tower and 4 engines. Providence has been buying 2 Pierce engines a year for the same amount of time to replace their Macks, with two more scheduled for this year. Every engine Cranston has bought since 1989 has been an E-One. I'm guessing they all would've stopped buying those trucks if there were signigicant consistent problems.

    Someone, at some point, on some thread in this forum, either constructively raised concerns or outright trash-talked each of those manufacturers I mentioned, and many more. No one company rolls out nothing but trash, nor does any one company roll out nothing but perfection.

  8. #8
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Scottdale, PA
    Posts
    9

    Thumbs up

    To All of You that have replied,<br />Thank you for the postings, the emails and attachements to support our cause. This post in no means, was planted to trash a certain manufacture. Nor was it a ploy to create a long winded movement to stir the crowd. Just a simple request for help in solving a problem, However; I want to let you know that we are still taking data from companies and departments that are having problems. And will continue to monitor and collect information submitted. Please forward your info to lightdoc@cvzoom.net .

  9. #9
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    19

    Post

    lightdoc,<br />I hope this message reaches you before your meeting. My department has been having some of the same problems you had in '98. I have read and re-read your post and I don't believe you are dissatisfied with the apparatus or the manufacturer, rather the service provider. My small county department just took delivery of a new 2001 ALF Silver Eagle Quint and we love the truck. It is by far the most advanced apparatus we have ever owned. But, as with all new products, we have had some warranty issues. These issues are usually minor until the service/warranty provider does not do their job and that is exactly what we are dealing with now. I do not know who you are dealing with but don't be afraid to take to the top of the hill. We went direct to the President of ALF who immediately contacted our local service dept. and informed them to be ready for a visit! This was last week and the truck is scheduled to go into the shop after they visit it in the station to determine what needs repair. I believe ALF to be a top-notch manufacturer that is trying to rebuild their reputation. They need to know about all the crappy service departments that are out there so they can try to fix them or change them. Service with any product is the key. Anyone can sell a fire truck. It takes someone dedicated to service to maintain the product after the sale. Well, enough of my rambling. If you need any further info, please contact me by e-mail ariggens@forestbendfire.com.

  10. #10
    Member

    Join Date
    Oct 1999
    Location
    South Central Pennsylvania
    Posts
    47

    Thumbs up

    First I want you to know I met a member of your department in person and have discussed several of the problems. If I remember correctly, your chassis is an ALF and so is the pump. The body was built by 4 Guys which is around 30 to 40 miles from your station. You have had no problems with the body or any of the work done by the body builder. This really shouldn't matter since ALF went around buying up some smaller manufactures when they grew. 4 Guys builds a decent product. You need to contact the City of York PA. It is near me. They actually made ALF take back the tiller they sold them and build them a new ladder truck. It also had numerous problems but most were other than chassis related. They bought a total of 4 pieces of apparatus from ALF. I am also fimilar with your fight you are facing. A volunteer department I was with in the mid ninties went through the same thing with an E-One heavy rescue. Our township's lawyer had to send them legal notice that we intended to sue them to finally get action taken. Sometimes this is what it takes. You need to do what you feel is best to protect your organizations best interests and forget what anyone may say about your actions.<br />Some people get into these posts and voice their opinions. I was always told opinons are like *******s everybody's got one. Some are just bigger than others. Email me if I can help in any way. Take care everyone and be safe. FGN

  11. #11
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    8

    Post

    Since it wasn't posted on this forum, I will let everyone know. The president of American LaFrance went to Scottdale and met the the borough and fire department officials. American LaFrance is going to re-chassis the truck with a new model LaFrance with a Series 60 engine instead of the Series 55 that they currently have. It seems that a little media attention helped the cause, but the president stated "that he didn't know that they were having these problems." I think the moral of the story is don't believe the salesmen all the time, and don't be afraid to go to the top.<br />There was an article on the local newspaper site, <a href="http://www.triblive.com" target="_blank">www.triblive.com</a> this week about the truck.

  12. #12
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Scottdale, PA
    Posts
    9

    Thumbs up

    To All That Have Helped and have followed this event:
    <br />As Promissed>>>As of evening of the 22nd of January 2002, a meeting took place between ALF and Station 58, in Scottdale, PA.
    Here is what happened. ALF's CEO and other representatives attend along with the Board and the Body of our department. The Issue of the trucks problems were examined and reviewed. I was very much surprised to find out that the problems that we have been having were found to have been caused by a lack of communications between ALF's management and/or the representatives, and NOT just a simple case of Neglect. I met and had the chance to express my concerns about the ALF Company with the CEO, and I was taken by the actions of this man. He was not only a very down to earth person, but a person that you enjoy listening to. He explained as to where the problems lied, and how they have since been corrected.
    <br />I'm not one to read between lines, but I'm sure that since this conversation, I can only imagine as to what the correction may have been.(there maybe a few job openings) I went into this meeting with a slightly bias opinion, and left with a feeling that there is a chance for Big Business, and the people that they serve to respect each other. I state with good intentions, that if this man is the new wave of management at ALF, this company will shock the firefighters in the near future with better service, more interaction, and a top of the line product.
    <br />ALF has not only taken our problem under it's wing, but under the watchful eye of its Management team. I caution to the other apparatus builders out there....there's a new sherif in town, and his goal is to clean up the place........
    <br />To those of you that have written me about issues concerning problems in the past or present, your information has been delivered. Also, if you are looking for an avenue to travel, find your way to the person that cares. I don't think that this man will pass the buck....
    <br />Many thanks to all of you that aided in this intervention, and have helped in more ways in one. I'll also keep you posted as to the outcome of coming events.
    <br />Thanks
    <br />Doc

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    ENG6511's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Posts
    174

    Post

    See my post "Meet and Greet" same subject matter.
    Bob Compton
    IACOJ-Proud
    IACOJ-HALL OF FAME-2003

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register