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Apparatus Essentials
by Bob Vaccaro

Seagrave – 125 Years and Still Going Strong

By Bob Vaccaro

When you think of longevity in fire apparatus manufacturers, one name that comes to mind is Seagrave. The company has been a custom fire apparatus builder since 1881.

It has developed a number of strong products since its launch, and is noted as having the strongest steel aerial ladder in production.

While Seagrave has had to weather some controversy in the past few years, it seems to have overcome problems successfully and celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2006. It has been revitalized by its recent purchase by FB Capital Partners L.P, a private investment firm based in Philadelphia.

In the past two years Seagrave has come up with some new product offerings, such as the Concorde and Attacker Chassis, Commander II and Marauder II. It also has introduced several aerial ladder products, such as the Tower Max 100 foot and 75 foot mid-mount aerial platforms, and its new Triton Pumps.

The company has provided apparatus to a number of large cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Louisville, and Philadelphia.

Its apparatus, with its heavy steel aerial ladders as well as steel frame cabs, have been operating around the country for decades now.

Company Background
Seagrave Fire Apparatus was founded in Detroit, Michigan, by Frederic Seagrave. It was moved to Columbus, Ohio, in 1891. In 1963 it was acquired by FWD Corporation, bringing it to Clintonville, Wisconsin, where it remains to this day.

The company recently committed itself to the city with the announcement it would construct a new 137,000-square-foot final assembly building on the southwest corner of its site.

The new building will provide a chassis assembly line for all fire apparatus and two final assembly lines for custom pumper and aerial trucks. It will also feature more than 16,000-square-feet of space for research and engineering, office, and customer delivery areas.

The construction plans reflect a much needed update at the plant and the new development should help increase demand for apparatus and reduce delivery times for customers.

Some have expressed concern over the past year about the quality and delivery times of apparatus, which the new management company is trying to address with the construction proposals.

I am glad to see that Seagrave is still in operation with a modernization plan in place. It has always been a traditional company with a great fire service heritage and I hope that they will continue to be in operation for a great many years to come.

About the author

Apparatus Editor Bob Vaccaro has more than 30 years of fire-service experience. He is a past chief of the Deer Park Fire Department on Long Island. Vaccaro has also worked for the Insurance Services Office®., the New York Fire Patrol and several major insurance companies as a senior loss control representative. Email questions or feedback for Bob Vaccaro to

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