Yesterday and today I had the pleasure of meeting up with a true fire history buff. Tommy Herman lives in Chesterfield County. He is a retired Richmond firefighter and a long time volunteer at Ettrick station 13 in Chesterfield County.

Tommy had reached out to me a while back and had called a couple times when he made it to town. This time we were able to meet up. Tommy is a foremost authority on Oren apparatus and the company itself. He has a book coming out in the spring on Oren apparatus and it has several Roanoke Trucks in it. I got to peruse the draft of the book and I cannot wait to thumb through my own copy.

Tommy had some great stories. It was amazing how he knew all the people I had contacted, tried to find, or had heard of when I was writing “Firefighting in Roanoke”. He left me two large files to look through and scan. We went to dinner last night and afterwards I took the time to scan everything. I scanned from 8-12 last night.

Needless to say, Tommy knows a lot. He knows about Roanoke FD, REMS, Oren, Seagrave, ALF, you name it. Hell, he knew Maurice Wiseman too. Willie mentioned my meeting and some news about other Orens here.

One thing he said stood out…He commented on how Roanoke is so quick to get rid of stuff. I couldn’t agree more. Of all the great firetrucks we have had over the years, what do we have to show for it? Squad 1, a couple other rusted trucks hoping for refurb. So many great trucks are gone forever. I realize we can’t keep everything, but at least hand it off to someone who cares.

One thing Tommy was able to do that I wasn’t even thinking about was rekindling my curiosity of our history. He got me thinking about that second book and maybe the complete history book. He got me thinking about continuing to find out history, reclaim OUR artifacts, and move forward.

And with that, I shall set back out on my quest. I just ask anyone who has any images to share please let me know. I have asked in the past and not gotten much of a response. The process is simple…you get me the photos, I scan them or copy them, I get them back to you. If I use them in the future you get credit.

For now I will leave you with this little teaser of some of the images I got from Tommy. You will see more in the future!!! Feel free to chime in and comment on the trucks if you want.

The all new Ladder/Quint 7 is just about ready to be put into service. Here are some photos.
2009 Pierce Velocity 75’ Heavy Duty Ladder

TAK-4 Independent Front Suspension
Hendrickson Air Ride Rear Suspension
Side Roll Protection
Frontal Air Bags
6-Man cab with two EMS compartments
5 Hands-Free SCBA Brackets
Cummins ISM 500 hp engine
Hale 1500 gpm QMAX pump
480 gallon water tank/20 gallon foam cell
On-Scene LED compartment lighting
Intec Backup Camera System
10 kW Harrison hydraulic generator
FRC 120V lights
Aerial Remote Tip Controls
Aerial Collision Avoidance System
Pinless Semi Retractable Waterway Locking System
Whelen LED lighting package
Pierce paint and graphics

Dan Spearin forwarded me this photo one of his coworkers took last week of the new ladder 7. The truck should be in service soon. I must say that that truck looks pretty damn good.

Ladder 13 is reportedly ready to begin once the funds are allocated. The truck will be basically the same as Ladder 7 but have a 105′ ladder on top and be a little longer.


Ladder 7 is in production at the Pierce plant. This 75′ rear mount, tandem rear end unit will be  utilized as a quint and take the place of Ladder 7 which is currently a similar setup with single rear end and only 10 years old.