Fairmount Indiana’s S&S Fire Apparatus Company Celebrates its 25th Anniversary of Making Customized Specialty Fire Trucks
FAIRMOUNT, IN - Company president Doug Kelley said S&S makes and sells between 120 and 150 trucks every year. While this is a long way from the thousands of vehicles made by some of the company’s largest competitors, S&S remains viable by concentrating on quality, high – performance products. Steve Stookey founded the company in 1983 and ran it until 1991, when it was taken over by the Boone Family. They sold it to Texas – based SNF Industries about three years ago.
But the company’s mission has not changed, Kelley said.“These are not typical fire trucks,” Kelley said of the 11 to 13 types of vehicles S&S Manufactures. “They have to perform not only on the street but off road.”Much of the company’s business is with Wildland agencies in the Western United States, who like the rugged equipment manufactured at S&S.Kelley said S&S trucks are designed to go “anywhere a vehicle on wheels can go,” which makes them ideal for the Bureau of Land Management and other agencies that fight fires in the West.
S&S buys the trucks’ cabs from other companies and then constructs the vehicle from the cab back. The company employs about 65 people at its complex southwest of Fairmount, Indiana.“We have a lot of years doing this,” Kelley said. “We have a bunch of guys who are really good at welding.”Hartford City Indiana Fire Chief Bret Murray said his department purchased an S&S Infinity truck in 2007. He said they are very happy with the vehicle so far. “It handles great,” he said. “It pumps fine, and it operates fine. We were very pleased with the efforts of the people at S&S.”Kelley said the company’s plan is to keep on doing what it does well. “The thing that makes a success in fire equipment is a quality product you can depend on,” he said. “We’ve always had that same strategy, and that allowed us to keep going.” The company might expand to more conventional fire trucks soon, Kelley said, but not at the expense of the core products. “Whatever we do, we don’t want to forget and to lose what we’re doing well now,” he said.