First Newly Upgraded Snorkel® Articulating Boom Platform Debuts in Smeal Booth #4321 at FDIC

Legendary Snorkel design revolutionized firefighting as the first elevated firefighting platform; ability to go up, over and out provides greater rescue and firefighting capability


EPHRATA, PENN. (April 21, 2016) – Ladder Tower Co. (LTC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Smeal Fire Apparatus Co., will exhibit a new 55-foot Snorkel® Articulating Boom Platform in Booth #4321 during the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) Exhibition in Indianapolis, Ind. April 21-23, 2016. This is the first Snorkel to be built by LTC since their acquisition by Smeal in 2014. The design enhancements are targeted at improving safety, control and reliability. They include the addition of Smeal’s QL-12 peer-to-peer electrical system and state-of-the-art aerial controls, but maintain the most popular and effective features of the Snorkel design.

The Snorkel was the first elevated firefighting platform to be deployed in the fire service. When it was first introduced in 1958, it revolutionized firefighting and the ability to reach out, over and up to place firefighters and a master stream for rescue and aerial attack.

Frankfort Fire Protection District in Illinois, owned a Snorkel for many years, and purchased this first new Snorkel to replace an eight-year-old 100’ rear mount platform.

“The Snorkel has had an extraordinary impact on our fire ground strategy and capability, how and from where we attack a fire. It’s our tradition to pass along the best, and we are really looking forward to bringing the Snorkel’s firefighting capability to our next generation of firefighters,” said James Grady, Fire Chief of Frankfort Fire District. “The team at Smeal and LTC have done a great job of working with our people to make sure that when the Snorkel is delivered and hits the streets, it does its job.”Snorkel 55 - Frankfort FD

“The Snorkel is a legendary piece of firefighting apparatus, and we’re extremely proud to bring its singular capabilities back to the fire service. From the conversations we’ve had with firefighters across North America since we purchased LTC, bringing back the Snorkel was a major priority. There are many fire departments that have been using a Snorkel for years, who absolutely wouldn’t give up its unique ability get to the fire or rescue,” said Jeff Wegner, senior vice president of global sales for LTC and Smeal Fire Apparatus Co. “We can never rest on our laurels, so this was an intensive effort to make the Snorkel better than it’s ever been, and we feel confident that we’ve achieved that.”

Snorkel® Articulating Boom Platform Goes Places Other Aerials Cannot

The 55-foot Snorkel Articulating Boom Platform can go places that other aerials simply cannot:

  • The articulating design allows firefighters to go up, over and out for fire attack and rescue operations, so that parapets, power lines, antennas and other obstructions don’t stop firefighters from placing the platform or the master stream exactly where needed.
  • The Snorkel is lightweight enough to be mounted on a single axle, short-wheelbase chassis, providing the additional maneuverability to go up driveways, back down alleys, back up to curbsides and go around cul-de-sacs for optimum apparatus placement.
  • The A-style stabilizers, with a narrow spread of only 11’9”, contribute to the Snorkel’s ability to reach the scene in tight streets and alleys.
  • A low, overall travel height of 11’4”

Frankfort’s new Snorkel rides on Sirius II chassis with a 450-horsepower Cummins ISL9 engine. It is equipped with a 1,500 gpm Waterous pump and 500-gallon water tank.

Smeal Fire Apparatus Co.

Smeal Fire Apparatus Co., including US Tanker Co. and Ladder Tower Co., is recognized as a premier manufacturer, inventor and innovator of customized fire apparatus. The company offers a full line of custom and commercial pumpers, rescue pumpers, mini and rescue pumpers, stainless steel tanker / tenders, aerial ladders, platforms, TDA’s, wildland, and urban interface vehicles. Smeal is committed to leading the industry in high quality fire apparatus, delivery times and customer experience. Smeal sells its products worldwide and is based in Snyder, Neb. To learn more, visit and

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