On July 17, 2008 I opened my email and found a message.“Congratulations Donald Wernig! You are the high bidder.” With that email I began my journey into antique fire apparatus ownership.
I had found Ladder 49 while cruising the internet late at night. I had always wanted an antique fire truck and a tiller was exactly what I had hoped for. I could only imagine what it was like to drive the back.When the bidding started I thought I was bidding on a tiller from Baltimore, Maryland.After several days I read the fine print in the ad and realized I was bidding on Ladder 49, from the movie of the same name.
Ladder 49 was one of six tillers bought that year for Baltimore Fire Department.They were chassis numbers E-76022 thru E-76027. Chassis E-76025 was assigned to Truck 7, Reserve Truck 39,Truck 20 and finally ended its service as Reserve Truck 42. This is the truck that would be used in the movie, Ladder 49. Ladder 49 is a 1974 Seagrave 100′ tractor drawn aerial, powered by a 6-71 Detroit Diesel, with a five speed manual transmission, and thankfully for me, power steering.
I take it to several shows and musters a year, participate in several local fire prevention events, and attend the Woodbury Fall Festival parade in New Jersey, where I get to drive the back in the parade. I usually swing the tiller from curb to curb to entertain the spectators. It always draws attention.
The truck is housed at the Cradle of Liberty Fire Museum in Repaupo, New Jersey.
Hope to see you all at the 2018 Summer convention, hosted by the Cradle of Liberty Antique Fire Apparatus Association.The convention will be from August 1 to August 5, 2018 with the muster being on August 4.The muster will be at Cooper River Park in Pennsauken, New Jersey. Ladder 49 will be there.