Madison Fire Department brings heavy-duty tiller aerial ladder in service

Tiller Jack Knifed
Courtesy of MFD
The tiller can "jack knife" up to 60 degrees.

MADISON, Wis. — Madison Fire Department brings back old technology with a tractor-drawn aerial ladder truck to meet modern needs.

According to a release, a 107-food heavy-duty tiller aerial ladder from Pierce Manufacturing is serving Fire Station 1. The tiller is though to be the fourth tiller in the history of the Madison Fire Department. It’s the only one in service in Wisconsin today.

The release said it requires two drivers. The design allows the truck to navigate hard-to-reach alleyways, courts and cul du sacs that the previous Ladder 1 truck couldn’t maneuver.

The tiller can extend 107 feet, approximately eight or nine stories high. As high-rise buildings increase, the vertical reach is more important for downtown firefighters.

The tiller will also protect tree canopies as its lower and also it can access tight courtyards so fire code allows more trees to be planted. The tiller also reduces fuel consumption as it doesn’t have a pump.

Without the pump, the release said it operates more like a traditional truck company and saves money on production costs. There is more space for specialized rescue equipment as well.

There have been at least three decades since MFD had a tiller aerial ladder.