Saturday 27th August 1910
The first American LaFrance motorised fire truck was sold to Lenox (MA) Fire Department in the US and is still owned by the department. One of the catalysts in 1909 that spurred Lenox to invest in a gas-powered apparatus was a massive fire in the center of the city’s downtown district on April 11, 1909, in which six people lost their lives. In a later interview, city Fire Chief Oscar Hutchinson (who held that position from 1909-1967) stated that at the time “fire protection in Lenox was practically nil,” a fact which accounted for the devastation and loss of lives. Getting much-needed personnel and equipment to the scene faster became paramount, so the city turned to the American-LaFrance Fire Engine Company, then based in Elmira, New York. Ordered soon after the fire, the Lenox Fire Department took delivery of its new apparatus and after testing and training, the department placed the pumper into service, and it became a proud icon of the city over the next several decades.