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Thread: Cary NC Aerial

  1. #1
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    Default Cary NC Aerial

    I commend Firehouse for running the story on Cary's Aerial failure. We all need straight and honest information concerning the apparatus we are using, or considering purchasing. And we need it from unbiased sources. Please don't buckle under to the almightly advertising dollar and pull the article. Now if we can just get Pierce to publish their findings so that we can all learn.


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    Forum Member TCFD12's Avatar
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    AGREED!!! I would imagine that it will be months before the actual "report" comes out on this. I am just a curious as you to hear what caused this failure.
    "The hero is commonly the simplest and obscurest of men."
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    dazed and confused Resq14's Avatar
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    Default VERY curious

    Like the rest of you, I would very much like to know what caused the collapse. From the few far away pics, it looks as though the hydraulics or some other mechanical device failed since the ladder structure itself appears to be intact <<<edited: apparently i missed the obvious failure... i guess i didn't look closely enough>>>. I can't tell if the rig is short-jacked on the driver's side... but the truck didn't flip over so i can't see that being the issue.

    I am SO glad no one was seriously injured or killed.

    "We have a lot of confidence in the apparatus we purchase. We inspect it annually," said Cary PIO Susan Moran.

    I guess I wouldn't have too much confidence after falling out of the sky for whatever reason it was. I certainly wouldn't go back in it.
    Last edited by Resq14; 06-05-2002 at 11:18 PM.

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    Default Re: VERY curious

    Originally posted by Resq14
    From the few far away pics, it looks as though the hydraulics or some other mechanical device failed since the ladder structure itself appears to be intact.
    Take a look at the last picture in the article. The aerial's steel has clearly failed on both sides at its base. See the two beams sticking up that are unattached to the rest of the aerial? That's where the ladder failed.

    I know that this type of aerial was originally manufactured by Nova Quintech, which is a descendant of Pierre Thibault. Did Pierce do any redesigning of the aerial when they bought out Nova Quintech, or did they manufacture them exactly the same way Nova had?

    Also worth noting is that this aerial has a 750 lbs. dry tipload and 500 lbs. while flowing water. Two firefighters in the bucket should have been within its load limits whether flowing water or not, unless its load carrying capacity goes down at low angles of elevation. Thank goodness they were as low as they were for the sake of the people in the bucket.

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    One-L has a good point, but I am not convinced that was enough to cause the failure of the aerial. The two pieces sticking up is not normal as they appear as though they were once attached to the top beams of the bed section of the aerial. Another interesting thing I noticed is that the lift cylinders still appear to be attached to the aerial itself as they should be. The lift cylinders however look as though they have collapsed or compressed back down as they would be if the aerial was in its cradeled position. This is interesting to me because if it was a structural failure the cyclinders should have stayed at the extention they were when the aerial collapsed, not back in a rested or unloaded position as they appear to me. Could the loose pieces at the turntable area be from structural damage that was secondary from a mechanical problem. If a complete loss of function occured, (Total hydraulic, electrical, etc.) could a loaded platform at sufficient extention and minimal elevation fallen to the ground and the impact with the ground caused the damage at the turntable area? Just my thoughts.
    Last edited by STATION2; 06-05-2002 at 03:49 PM.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

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    When we purchased our current aerial (an LTI) we were warned that the load-rating is decreased when operating at low angles, and to use caution especially when flowing water at those angles. Putting 2 people on the tip in addition may have had an effect, too.

    Cary may have had a similar situation--I can't speak for that. Just my read on the event.
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    Default

    Originally posted by STATION2
    Another interesting thing I noticed is that the lift cylinders still appear to be attached to the aerial itself as they should be. The lift cylinders however look as though they have collapsed or compressed back down as they would be if the aerial was in its cradeled position.
    Very excellent point, which made me go look at the pictures a little closer. I'd suggest that you take a look at Pierce's online pdf platform brochure (see the link at the bottom of the story on the front page about this incident). I did after thinking about what you said.

    Looking at the brochure, it looks to me that when this model ladder is in its cradled position, the lift cylinders are at a lower angle and do not extend vertically above the top of the first section of the aerial. Look at the cylinders in the picture of the Cary ladder. They appear to remain above their cradled position, as they are at a higher angle and extend vertically above the first section of the aerial.

    Basically what's going to help make the determination of how the ladder failed is what the eyewitnesses say, especially whoever was on the turntable. If the steel near the bottom of the ladder failed, it should've happened right in front of the person's face who was at the controls. If this is the case, and the aerial had some sort of catastrophic structural failure when it was only three or so years old, I would imagine that there are some unhappy people at Pierce right now.

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    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Another interesting thing I noticed is that the lift cylinders still appear to be attached to the aerial itself as they should be.

    I don't think so...those cylinders should be even with the top of the beams, the ones in the pics are sticking up quite a bit, as if they where extended and the ladder "fell" off of them.

    The other interesting thing to note is the water dribbling out of the basket "moments before it fell." Were they just starting to flow water, or just stopping? The greatest time for something to fail is when your changing modes...once everything is charged and flowing things don't usually spontaneously fail. (Same principle why light bulbs usually burn out when you turn them on, and not just while already on)

    Anyway, all speculation till more detailed information comes out...it is a shame to see a Sky-Arm like that though, they're neat trucks.

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    From the pics, it seems that the part that failed was an integral part of the aerial, so it looks to be a structural failure more than a hydraulic one.

    To answer ONE-L, Pierce redesigned the sky series (sky-arm, sky-boom and sky-five) when they bought out NOVAQuintech.

    There's alot of Sky-arm aerials up here in Canada, almost all of them Nova Quitech and Thibault and i haven't heard of one failing. Anyway, no matter what make or brand any aerial can fail.

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    It is truly a shame to see what happened to our brothers in Cary, NC. It will be several long months of questioning and rehashing of these events. I would very much like to see what the final determination of what caused the failure of the aerial device, and doubt very much that it will be published for all to see. Looking at these pictures reminds me of a few "magic numbers" to told to me for "pocket information" - 35 degress and below: cuts the load rating for the aerial device in half flowing water or not. I do have one question wouldn't the hydraulic cylinders taken off if they became separated from the aerial device.
    From what I saw in the pictures it looks like a hydraulic failure to me I will revue the pictures again to see if anything else "looks out of place".
    "The saw won't start, heh, grab the axe and start chopping"

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    for years our e-one rep has said by useing our aerials your men will remain safe and he said just like im sure you all have herd NO E-ONE AERIAL HAS EVER FAILED EVER
    now im glad we have all e-one aerials
    From what I understand this incident that happened in cary happens more then we all think and it is kept hush hush and no prints it in fear of losing advertisers I commend you fire house
    cp

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    One-L and Dalmation 90, I went and looked at the Pierce file on these products and you both appear to be correct. The lift cylinders do appear to be much higher than they should be in the bedded position and they appear to be at a steeper angle than they would be in the bedded position. This leads to my theory in my first post where I mentioned that if it was structural failure the lift cylinders should have done as you both said and what the cylinders do in fact appear to have done. Break loose that is. Well this made me think of something else. Both of the lift cylinders are not as they should be, but they are both still relatively parallel to one another. This would make me think that if the aerial did suffer a structural failure, that it was an evenly spread failure or reason perendicular to the aerial relative to the platform (Like crossing a T) and not a tortional twist failure. Example: FDNY Ladder Co. 108 a few years ago. And hey Ladderman, keep the faith and preaching the truth, this would have never happened to an E-One. I too am glad to have rock solid E-One aerials in both my departments. Just my thoughts.
    Last edited by STATION2; 06-05-2002 at 10:19 PM.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

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    From the WDRL link:


    Fire officials say the top rails and beams on the ladder fractured, dropping both firefighters to the ground.

    Engineers checked out the truck Wednesday morning trying to find out what caused parts of the steel ladder to shear.

    "For it to fail in this particular place at the base section on it is basically unheard of because usually that's the strongest point on a ladder," said Cary fire chief M.W. House.


    I too am very curious to know what exactly caused this failure.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
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    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Good point Station2 -- doesn't look from the pics (albeit only one angle from a distance) and the statements that much "twisting" occured -- looks like a nearly straight drop.

    As for the conspiracy theorists out there, do you really think the common loss of half a million dollar apparatus would go un-noticed? For cripes sakes, Boston drives (well, attempts) to drive one under a low bridge and the photos are around the 'net the before the officer has a chance to begin his paperwork. Firefighters can't keep their big mouths shut.

    Oh, and if the manufacturers were really covering it up to preserve sales, they'd lose all those profits after the first lawsuit is filed for bodily injury from the next failure. It's in their interest if a flaw is found to notify owners and testing companies of what inspections and/or repairs are needed to prevent other aerials made by them from failing again in the same way.

    for years our e-one rep has said by useing our aerials your men will remain safe and he said just like im sure you all have herd NO E-ONE AERIAL HAS EVER FAILED EVER

    Salesmen...now that's someone to trust

    It's a credit to E-One that they have a good reputation, but someday one probably will fail from either mechanical or operational failures.

    The really unique thing here is the failure of "Heavy Duty" aerials is very rare -- someone quoted above the "below 35 degree" rule, but that doesn't apply to the modern Heavy Duty Aerials. We have a Pierce 105' Ladder which has,"a rated load capacity of 500 lb. while flowing 1,000 gpm with a 180-degree horizontal nozzle sweep, at full extension from -5 degrees to + 75 degrees." While a different design altogether, I believe the Sky-Arm has similiar ratings. You gotta know your trucks -- you don't want to do that with a lightweight ladder (yes, you can still buy trucks that only have a 250# tip load even when dry and can't drop below 25 degrees flowing water), but you don't want to tactically limit yourself on apparatus that can (or at least is designed to) do it.

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    There's actually another picture of the truck in the stowed position on the Cary website. Sorry, I didn't get the URL when I was there, but there's a link to the site on that WBRL (or whatever the call-letters were for the station) page if you go to it.

    It almost looks as if the top chord on both sides have failed at the welds (what's sticking straight up in the air in that picture?) and the bottom chord is bent or broken. I'm afraid I've never seen anything like THAT happen. But then again, it's not a great picture either and I may be seeing things.

    We had a Bronto Skyarm/Thibault/somebody-else (I can't remember if it was FFA or what it was) mixed breed a few years back before Pierce was working with them. I have to say, THAT was an interesting truck.

    Hope to hear a little more on this story soon.
    Michael "Mick" Mayers
    Acting Director, Urban Search and Rescue
    South Carolina Emergency Response Task Force
    www.sctf1.sc.gov

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    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Unless I've missed something in the family tree of fire truck manufacturers (and they're mostly an inbred lot that would make most hick towns proud so it's easy to lose track of who is who's cousin and which ones are sleeping together) Bronto wasn't involved in the Sky-Arm line.

    Thibault went through several reorganizations eventually emerging as --> Nova Quintech (which designed the Sky-Arm) --> Pierce bought their designs after bankruptcy.

    Pierre Thibault, btw, was a totally seperate company founded by a member of the Thibault family that broke away from Thibault itself.

    Bronto is a Finnish company that was bought by Federal Signal (makers of emergency lights, E-Ones, Saulsburys, and some other brands.)

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    We just took delivery of a new E-One tower ladder to replace our 105' Pierce Arrow aerial that only lasted 12 years. But more importantly let me ask this question:

    Who was notified of a Pierce aerial failure in New Rochelle, NY around 1997?

    Luckily, we were, after of course some of our powers to be made phone calls. Also, very luckily noone was on the New Rochelle ladder when it failed during training and it was found that the pins that hold the ladder to the turntable were flawed and 1 failed. They replaced both on ours. When we told our Pierce rep that we had chosen an E-One over replacing the old with a new Pierce his comment was "Well you'll have to live with it for the next 20 years." Great comment when the one we had only lasted 12, with severe frame rust, and whenever we used it the non-working side rear outriggers could be shook back and forth freely. The answer we got was it was normal, however, we never could do that in the past. Fortunately for us, the old steel vs. aluminum debate is over and those who bought into it in 1988 are gone, I also have had great experiences with E-One engines and aerials down south when I vollied during my Marine Corps tour and with an engine we got 2 years ago.

    I also noticed many of the things you guys pointed out. I thank you for pointing out a few more details that I hadn't picked up on. Be safe all.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    The above is my opinion only and doesn't reflect that of any dept/agency I work for, deal with, or am a member of. It is also my expression of freedom of speech, based on facts on a certain manufacturer of fire apparatus that occurred with my dept. So Pierce if you read this, it is not an attempt to discredit you or endorse E-One, it is just fact of the problems and run around we had trying to get answers as to why.

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    Dalmanton90

    First, Cary should be so lucky if that aerial only cost a half millon dollars.

    Second, there is a big difference between driving a ladder into a bridge, and having a failure while operating. Those firefighters in Boston were lucky that they only had to change their shorts, while our brothers in Cary were lucky they weren't over the building.

    As far as conspiracy in keep info off web sites like this, I beleive that there is an attempt to keep information like this quite. If memery serves me right, a new tractor-drawn aerial failed in Detroit about two years ago during a demostration. Yet the only way people found out about it was through word of mouth.

    Our lives depend greatly on the equipment we use. We depend on honest information from builders, salesmen, and users to help protect ourselves. That is why forms such as this are a great service. We need to get past this Pierce, E-One, flag waving and share honest information.

    Again, Firehouse magazine, Good Work !!

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    If memery serves me right, a new tractor-drawn aerial failed in Detroit about two years ago during a demostration. Yet the only way people found out about it was through word of mouth.
    And yet, if only 1 of the group of people posted a short note here, it would have been heard of by many. That's what these forums are all about...sharing information.

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    Actually, Nova Quintech was a corporation formed after the 1991-92 bankruptcy of Pierre Thibault LTD. They marketed their products under the Thibault name for a few years. Then they started to use the Nova Quintech nameplate and sold units in the US through various manufacturers. Thibault was a compagny dating back to 1908 when Charles Thibault started to build pumps. It was passed down through the family, passing by his son Pierre, who died in 1963. In 1968, a dispute arose among Pierre's sons: half the family wanted to sell the corporation, the other half didn't, so the ones who didn't went across town and created Pierreville Fire Trucks (So Dalmatian90, your mixing Pierre Thibault LTD with Pierreville). Pierre Thibault continued to produce fire apparatus and picked up assets from Pierreville when they went bankrupt in 1985. To make a long story short, the whole sky series was designed in the mid to late eighties by Thibault and by the Governement of Quebec funded CRIQ. CRIQ is the industrial research establishement here, so the sky-arm is a 1987-1988 design. Nova Quintech changed a few details, but didn't change much; however, Pierce changed the whole hydraulics, bucket design and lifting mechanisn. So it is fair to say that we hardly have the same product. If you want to know, Thibault aerials have failed, but in those events, the ladders were over 20 years old.

    Last edited by mattqc99; 06-06-2002 at 08:08 PM.

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