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    Default Boston Tower

    Rumor has it that a BFD Pierce Ladder Tower has gone out of service due to a "catastrophic hydraulic failure."

    Any guys from BeanTown know anything about this? Is it true?

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    A few days and no replies. Must've been a rumor.

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    Wonder if they had to buy the demo they stuck under the Bridge?

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    Question

    I have been informed it happened on October 11,2002. A private crane company was contracted to lower the aerial from the raised position due to catastrophic hydraulic failure. The aerial was inoperative and could not move.
    Last edited by blueflame; 11-01-2002 at 10:14 PM.

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    Interesting.

    Thank you.

    (If anyone happens to have a picture of the crane lowering the aerial device... oh I'd PAY for it! ... all in good fun.)
    Last edited by Resq14; 11-02-2002 at 12:19 AM.

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    As the story goes, the demo rig they ran under the bridge is in fact the one that Boston bought.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

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    the demo rig that they got stuck under the bridge is not the one that is now Ladder 10. The one they have now is a brand new rig

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    Who is Pierce going to blame this one on? It is not a Nova Quintech, is it?

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    I know this is an older topic but having been away for almost a year from these forums, I have to make 1 small correction here as well as give an update on Bostons future apparatus plans.

    The current apparatus being used by Tower Ladder 10 IS THE SAME rig that got cought under the bridge. The apparatus was returned to the Pierce plant in Wisconsin and repaired. Apon repair, they sent it back to Boston along with 5 new Pierce Enforcer engines. And I can tell you all from personnal knowledge from the boss himself, that THE ONLY reason that Boston is running a Pierce aerial is because of the accident. You break it, you own it. Otherwise, that truck would have been returned to Pierce after the origional trial period.

    Boston is currently specing out 2 midmount towers and 2 rearmount aerials for bid sometime in the near future. I am told by most that E-One will get the bid as the specs are being written to almost ensure E-One wins the bid. I wont gaurantee anything because things can change but do not expect to see another Pierce ladder in Boston. Even a local Pierce rep says that Pierce wont win the bid because "they (Boston) are looking for something else".

    They do however have 5 new Pierce pumpers coming with the CAFS option for the Big Dig Tunnels. And I thank all of you since your tax dollars are going to pay for them. The Big Dig project is paying for them since the Commisioner said he would not allow the new underground hiway to open without foam equipped pumpers. Now since they are purchasing the new rigs, the FD has agreed to let the tunnels open on time with the Big Dig paying for 2 loaner CAFS equipped pumps from Pierce until the new ones arrive.

    Sorry for the length. Hope it sheds some light on where the BFD is planning to go in the future.

    Kevin

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    Thanks for the insight, Kevin.

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    Kevin,

    Thanks for showing that my sources back then were correct about the rig they bought being the one that was damaged. On another subject if I may. If they only bought the Pierce ladder tower because of the "break it, buy it" policy, why go to Pierce pumpers, or atleast on the five (5) CAFS pumpers for the tunnels? Is this an isolated Pierce buy due to delivery timeframes, package deal, etc. or is this something that will continue for future pumper purchases? I know they also looked at/demoed an ALF/LTI midmount ladder tower at some point, any consideration going to them or are they gonna stick with E-One? Any input from the brothers on the rigs being taken on future purchases and if so, how do they like the E-One pumpers and trucks they currently have? And last but not least, how is the rig that Ladder Co. 10 is using holding up? Thanks in advance for answering all my questions.



    P.S.: There are 2 ladder towers in Boston now. There is Ladder Co. 10 and another. What is the designation of the other ladder tower? Is it still the Tower Unit?
    Stay low and move it in.

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    Larry

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    The '92 E-ONE tower is now Tower 3

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    Larry,

    I will attempt to answer all your questions the best I can. As has been pointed out, the Tower Unit has been redesignated Tower Ladder 3. The commish wants every unit to have a number when it comes to the mainstream apparatus. Interestingly enough, if lets say TL3 is using its tower apparatus, it will be designated TL3 on all radio communications. However, if they are using a spare ladder that is not a tower, it will be designated L3 on all radio communications. This is something new and will be implimented for all tower apparatus citywide. So if you are a spark, youll know if they are using their normal assigned apparatus.

    As far as TL10 is holding up.....I dont really know. There are mixed signals from the guys. I know for a fact a lot of them miss the E-One because E-Ones are SOOOOOOOO much more practical on Boston streets. But a lot of guys say they like it. I attribute that though to the fact that they now have a similar running card as TL3 has in Division 1. Now they respond to all smoke/fire showings in Division 2. So they see a lot of action now. When they first got it, they were responding to all struck boxes in Division 2, so Id probably like it too. TL10 did demo an ALF midmount for 6 months strating right after the accident with the Pierce happened. Again, a lot of guys liked it for what I think are the same reasons they say they like the Pierce. It was going everywhere. But when it came down to it, both the Pierce and the ALF were to big and required to much space for setup.....space that doesnt exist on most Boston streets. They were hitting everything but the lottery with both rigs and still are with the Pierce. The Pierce now has a huge crease in the rear passenger side. To big. Only E-One aerials belong in Boston. They set up twice as fast minimum, the aerials are stronger and lighter than the Pierce and I would trust an E-One aerial over anything else any day of the week. I do have an inside track on apparatus stuff in Boston and Ive been told that for several reasons....in which I will not get into right now, Boston will be returning to E-One ladders....at least for the upcoming purchase of 2 midmount towers and 2 rearmount aerials. Ive also heard they spoke with KME but I seriously doubt that materialized into anything.

    Now....as far as the Pierce engines........I dont have an answer for you. I know the commish is friends with one of the local Pierce reps who has been trying for years to get Pierce into Boston. I can tell you that the guys love the Pierce engines much better than the E-Ones. They had a couple slight problems with 2 of them but all in all, they are working out great. The only expense so far is tires for the all steer tower and the 2 engines with the option. They have gone through a boatload of them so far. The order currently with Pierce was awarded to them by the State of Massachusetts not the City. All your tax dollars are going to pay for the 5 now on order with CAFS. Im sure the city had a big hand in it but they went with them most likely due to the performance so far with the other 5 they got. I have seen a couple of them in action a few times and they are nice and perform great, so I would assume all future engine orders will stay with Pierce for a while with aerials returning to E-One.

    Sorry for the length but its pretty complicated. Lots going on in the big city. Of course Im not God so I cannot say all this will play out this way but there is a good chance it will.

    Kevin
    Last edited by Kevin78; 01-03-2003 at 11:16 PM.

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    Kevin,

    Thanks for the info. So, Tower Ladder Co. 3 is using the E-One 95' and Tower Ladder Co. 10 is using the Pierce 100' w/all steer. It seems as though Pierce is making pretty good headway in the Metro Boston area and E-One is losing some ground in terms of units bought by the area departments. I agree with you about the E-One aerials though in terms of overall use, strength, operational capabilities and TRUST in it. Are the Pierce pumpers (The 5 bought thru the state contract) going to have all wheel steer and foam turrets on the roof? Are the projected purchase of Pierce pumpers beyond the 5 mentioned previously going to have all wheel steer also? Thanks in advance.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

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    Larry,

    I am not sure about whether or not the 5 pumps on order will have all-steer or not. There has been no mention of it so I doubt it. I think they got the 2 with all-steer I believe as a trial. The rep suggested it due to the very conjested streets both size wise and illegally parked cars. Manuevering Boston streets in anything bigger than a Ugo can be a task. An 8 year old girl actually died as a result of injuries in a fire at her house because the FD could not reach the house quickly enough due to the narrow street and cars parked directly on the corner. I would think that if the all steer worked out to their satisfaction, it may become a standard option on future orders. The 5 new pumps will have the CAFS option with roof mounted foam turret and pump and roll capabilities. My good friend is a Lt. on 41 engine which is getting one of the new pumps. He likes the Pierce demo he has been assigned but he will miss the raised roof....as will many companies. The Commish doesnt believe they look like fire trucks with the raised roof, therefore, all future pumper orders while he is the boss will not have the raised roof. If you recall, 41 engine has the 100th E-One delivered to the city and that truck is I believe a 99 or 2000 model. But due to their running district, they are the only pumper that responds inbound to the city on the Mass Pike, about 3-5 miles worth of hiway, which as a part of the Big Dig is now a few miles longer with tunnels then it was before for them. Where they will put the E-One nobody knows yet.

    As far as Metrofire communities go......yes, Pierce has taken a big bite out of the E-One pie. Communities like Medford, who had E-Ones for years has now switched to Pierce. What can I say, Pierce makes a great product....but so can E-One. I believe you get what you pay for and a lot of opinions about E-Ones are due to poor specing on the communitiy Fire Departments part. You want the low bid, youll get it. E-One can win those...Pierce cannot. One thing is for sure though and I said this in the last post....I have set up a Pierce, climbed a Pierce and done the same with an E-One and I would choose the E-One hands down over the Pierce any day of the week. I would put up the performance of an E-One aerial over a Pierce any day....and the E-One will win every time. If my house was on fire and I was trapped on an upper floor...knowing what I know about the two, I would feel a whole lot better starring at an E-One out the window than a Pierce.

    Let me know if you have more questions....Id be glad to answer them as best I can. And Ill be sure to drop you a line here when I find out more. Info is slow coming. The aerials were supposidly going out to bid in November last year and I havent heard or seen anything since October last year about it. I know the commish had grand plans for apparatus purchases for this year which included 2 reamounts, 6 towers, a commercial pump and a new rescue. Then the city came out with his apparatus budget for the year.....$2 million, thats it period. So maybe the money has disappeared, who knows. Hope this helps a bit.

    Kevin

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    Kevin,

    Again, thanks for the good info. If I may ask a few more, bare with me. Boston for years has been a one Tower Co. town. Why the change to wanting multiple Tower Co.'s. I agree totally for a number of reasons, but why the change now? The Rescue Co.'s are still using the E-One rigs. What is the talk on the maker they are gonna go with for those rigs when they are due for replacement?
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

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    Larry,

    My only guess as to why the change now is that it is a new boss with new ideas, trying something different. I know he is a big FDNY mark so Im sure he gets a lot of ideas from their style. There hasnt been much scuttlebutt at all about why but the goal I believe is to have a tower in each of the 12 districts. That could be wrong though but like I said, there isnt much talk about it right now. Boston has not always been a one tower city though. It has been for years now but at one point they did run at least 2 towers if not more. I love the idea too but in some ways it has its downfalls. E-One or not, towers are much bigger than rearmounts. Boston as stated before and is common knowledge has very narrow streets. In the North End for instance, Ladder 1 has a very difficult time traversing the streets in their single axle E-One 110' aerial. Imagine trying to squeeze a tower instead through there. Its tough and thats going to be the main problem.

    There is no talk about the rescues at this point. Rescue 1 was on the board to get replaced but it got the axe due to budgetary issues. I have only heard the possibility of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority or MBTA (the commuter rail system, subways buses etc.) picking up the bill as the big dig did for the current Rescue 1. Most people dont know that the City of Boston does not own Rescue 1. It was purchased as the collapse unit for the big dig but BFD decided to make it R1. Funny thing is, they had an order in for another rescue for R1 when that decision was processed. So that other rescue eventually became R2. Currently both rescue companies use E-One apparatus. But the problems are again with the streets. Not only are they narrow but they are old and full of potholes, so the apparatus takes a major beating. And contrary to others opinion about E-Ones, Boston has had exemplary performance out of the E-Ones over the years with all the abuse they take.

    Have a good one.

    Kevin

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    I understand about the Rescue purchase thru the MBTA. Wasn't there some others that were bought for other metro departments? Newton maybe. Anyway, Again thanks for the information. While I am asking questions, another if I may. How many Engine Co.'s, Truck Co.'s, Tower Co.'s, Rescue Co.'s, District Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs are there along with their respective staffing? I appreciate the info.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

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    With all due respect, can you compare e-one and pierce ladders. What is the major difference. I have had from an e-one dealer that Boston had to replace a number of top sections on there ladders due to the high heat and the beatings that they put them through? Pierce ladders are a take off of smeal. I have heard a lot of comments about smeal ladders potentially being the best ladders out there with the most experience building aerials. Any info?
    Chris

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    I may be accused of being biased, but I don't think what you heard is accurate. In another post a Boston E-One was accused of having a fly section "melt off" at a working fire and another Chicago E-One Tower Ladder was supposed to have suffered a "catastrophic failure". Both of these were posted by the same person. When asked about details of each he never posted on the thread again. I then spoke with a number of contacts I have and the worst I heard of was the Chicago incident. Even then it was not a catostrophic failure, but a lift cylinder that seperated from the bed section. The aerial stayed in the air and never wavered in the least. The aerial was lowered and repaired and the rig returned to service with no other such event being reported for it or other rigs. As for the fly section melting off, that is a stretch. Aluminum is gonna change when exposed to high heat for an adequate time, metalurgically speaking. But for that to occur and have the section fail is exceedingly rare to say the least. Has it happened, I don't know and can't say yes or no, but no one I know of in the NE, the factory or elsewhere has ever heard of such a thing occuring as described. I am sure that the fly sections of any aerial, no maker maker, is gonna take a beating when used as an aggressive Truck Co. is gonna use them. I don't care if the aerial is made out of aluminum, steel, stainless steel, or titanium. They are gonna suffer from the rigors of fire duty. Kevin has spoken of the streets, pot hole filled as they are, as being tight and a nightmare for negotiating through. Any rig is gonna take a beating in that environment. Factor in a Boston Truck Co. Jake hitting the ground runnning and any thing will yield to being used hard and fast, time and time again.
    As for E-One vs. Pierce, it comes down to basic facts: Steel rusts and aluminum does not. Steel is heavier than aluminum. The design of the E-One aerial is in fact greater stregth wise than they advertise. You can get a 110' rear mount on a single axle with an E-One and not on a Pierce. Critics of E-One say you have to use more aluminum to equal the stregth of the steel aerial on a Pierce, or Smeal, or LTI, or whatever. But the essential fact remains, steel rusts and aluminum does not. I have asked a friend of mine for some data on an E-One 75' aluminum aerial ladder ONLY and a Pierce 75' aerial ONLY, both with no bodies or cabs and chassis. Both with pre-piped waterways and essentially the same in overall concept. The weight is what I am after to try and put the "It takes more aluminum to equal steel and therefore makes it weigh the same" myth to bed. It will be interesting. Outrigger spread, or jack spread if you will, E-One can set up most places that a Pierce, Seagrave, LTI, etc. can only wish to and they have to watch from the end of the block. The underslung outrigger design is the best out there and even Pierce reps will tell you it is the best. Lets look at rear mount aerials at this point: Pierce, the smallest outrigger spread is 14' compared to E-One at 12'. May not seem like a lot, but 2' can matter. Lets look at the worst case scenario of Pierce at 18' and E-One at 13' 8". Again 4'4" is a significant savings differance. What about the mid mount ladder towers that Pierce is pushing and E-One has thrown in on? The 95' mid mount tower from Pierce has FOUR outriggers that require 18' for the front ones and 16' for the rear ones and need pins. Thats alot of real estate to occupy. The E-One 95' mid mount tower has only TWO outriggers and needs only 15' 6" without pins. Thats a big difference as you can put 2 outriggers between 2 parked cars on each side to get the setup. But with the Pierce you need to find room between 4 cars on each side spaced just right. Pierce says they use pins for an added safety feature, E-One does not need them. Pierce has them in case the hydraulics fail, E-One has interlocks that prevent hydraulic failure from affecting the stability of the rig. In addition, the pins take up extra seconds that may matter at 03:00hrs when you pull up with people in the 5th floor windows. Now what about that warehouse that gets going on you after you have set up and you need to reposition the rig? What happens if you forget the pins when your trying to move the aerial? The jacks don't go all the way up and you either warp the pin holes and get it out by dragging the jacks or you burn the rig. E-One can simply lift the outriggers and move on down the road with no memory lapse penalty of having pins in the way.
    Product line available by both are even: 75'+ rearmounts (Although E-One makes a 135' and Pierce doesn't come close with their 105'), 85'+ ladder towers, combination telescoping and articulating with the Sky Arm and Bronto, tele-squrts like devices such as the sky boom and tele-boom. They both offer whatever you need and want.
    And something else, what aerial manufacturer out there has never had a catastrophic failure? Only E-One has not had one and there is a reason for that. Superior material, design and workmanship sums in up. These are just my opinions and not my departments.

    Stay low and move it in.
    Last edited by STATION2; 01-07-2003 at 09:28 PM.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

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    Larry, Ithink you were asked this question before, When has Sutphen ever had a catastrophic failure ???

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    Default Minor quibbles

    A few quick points on this thread that I think are worth noting.

    Pierce doesn't use Smeal aerials any more, and hasn't since about 1992. (I'm taking this directly from Larry Shapiro's "Aerial Fire Trucks," an absolutely outstanding history of post WWII aerial fire apparatus, by the way. If you can find it, buy it. You won't regret it.) From 1992 (when its exclusive agreement with Smeal ended) until 1999, Pierce used aerials whose sections were built by Kewaunee Engineering, and then assembled at Pierce. In 1999, Oshkosh, who had previously bought Pierce, bought Kewaunee Engineering, bringing the whole operation under one roof.

    E-One discontinued its 135' aerial in 1999. The highest straight truck available nowadays is Smeal's 125' aerial. As far as I know the only two Smeal 125's that have been built went to St. Louis.

    Not all of E-One's aerials use the underslung jack system. The 105' tower and HP 75 aerial are two that immediately come to mind. It's true to say they largely use underslung jacks on most of their aerials, because the vast majority of the product line has them; it's just worth noting that not every model uses them.

    It does appear that E-One has never had a ladder fall over. However, this may be a bit of an accident of history. They started building aerials in 1982. Other builders have been building ladders for 50 or more years, or 100 in Seagrave's case, back when aerials had miniscule tip loads and were not designed to carry nearly the weight they can today. If an aerial has an effective tip load of 0 lbs. at maximum extension, as many old ladders did, of course chances are it will fall over at some point or another. Seagrave used the same basic aerial design from when, 1940 to 1991? Had E-One built ladders in the days where they were not designed with anywhere near the strength they have today, they may well have experienced a failure at some point.

    Of course, E-One hasn't had a failure, which is definitely to their credit, and should not be overlooked.

    Finally, when has RK or AI had a catasrophic failure?

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    OneL1L: Good point, I forgot the discontinuation of the 135' by E-One. And Smeal to my knowledge does still have the highest with the 125' that I believe St. Louis recieved the ones of. As for the jacks your summary about the outriggers is correct also. The HP 105 and HP75 use H style if you will but still do NOT require pins, unlike anyone else. The history of building aerials does in fact prove interesting, but some statistics that are also interesting if I may. Lets call in market presense. Eventhough E-One has been building aerials only since 1982 they produce in 1 year what Smeal will in 6 years and what Sutphen will in 7 years. These are using their own numbers. I think your accident of history comment is very interesting and provoked some thought on my part. Take Seagrave, they have been building aerials since the 40's and E-One only since 1982. Your point, I think, was that E-One was not in the market when the technology was more limited. I agree with that totally. But the reverse of that thought is this. With the current technology available today, why are there still makers having failures? With the technology available why not use it to better your designs and product line? In the short time that E-One has been in the aerial business, they have more than proven themselves in the field in some of the harshest condiditions and still has never had a failure. This, eventhough by sheer volume they are as equal in departments as alot of others. A good judge of a product is the number in the field. Just some thoughts and thanks for the corrections.

    Rescuemaster: On the issue of a Sutphen failure. I have it on very good information that the first 100+ built by them failed at the factory. There are 2 others I am having researched by some friends. At this point since I did not see it occur I can not say it is fact and it should be treated as rumor if you will. But keep in mind, it is a rumor that has never been challenged when E-One has toughted their aerial strength by showing the competition as having had failures. I would assume that the others said to have had failures would have challenged it if was not true.

    A friend of mine has a great quote you E-One fans can use when debating the aluminum vs steel issue:

    Q: Do you know what you hear when you put your ear up against a steel ladder and listen?

    A: It rusting from the inside, and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it.

    Stay low and move it in.
    Last edited by STATION2; 01-07-2003 at 09:40 PM.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

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    Originally posted by STATION2
    With the current technology available today, why are there still makers having failures? With the technology available why not use it to better your designs and product line?
    I think that's a valid point, and E-One deserves a lot of credit for not having a failure in 20 years and who knows how many aerials.

    But I also think maybe we should distinguish between the type of failures that happen. I think there's a big difference between a failure that results from some sort of manufacturing defect (a-la the Cary, NC Pierce Sky-Arm) or a failure that results from massively exceeding the aerial's designed loads (FDNY's Seagrave failure back in the early 90's, for just one example).

    If you put 1500 lbs on a 250 lb tipload aerial, is it really fair to blame the company if the ladder fails? I think not.

    I'll give you a hypothetical: 5 people jump on the tip of an E-One 110' ladder at max extension at a low angle, which promptly fails. The ladder has a 250 lb tipload. Is it E-One's fault that the ladder fell down? I'd say no. Would you?

    One-L

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    OneL1L: Your right, there needs to be a difference. The Seagrave assigned to FDNY Ladder Co. 108 and its resulting failure are an excellent example of a ladder that failed after being over stressed with a higher than allowable load, with only one rail rested on the window sill and at a low elevation while at almost max extention (91' I believe). In my opinion, a catastrohic failure is one that occurs while operating within the makers operational envelope in terms of elevation, extention, loading, water flow, etc. One who sets it up in sand and dumps it is not the makers fault. DCFD, for example, dumped one of their Grumman towers by setting it up in material that could not support it. The result was it on its side with its aerial in the fire building with no serious injuries to the fire fighters. That is not the makers fault. At this point however, they are always lumped into one and labeled "Aerial Failures". Just some thoughts.

    I am researching through friends the other "failures".

    And after looking again, E-One has discontinued the 135' from a regular production line item as you said. They will however, build one as a special order and rehab those still in service. Fort Worth, Texas for example had one rehabbed last year.
    Last edited by STATION2; 01-07-2003 at 10:14 PM.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

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