There’s nothing quite like a FDNY fire engine coming out of Fire Station. NYC is one of the most dense and built up environments in the world so those engines suddenly erupt out of their building, giving warning of their coming with flashing lights and sirens and then suddenly, dramatically there they are, huge, purposeful and hurying to some potential disaster. It’s hard not being awestruck.
Now watch the video and you will see two fire engines emerge one after the other in Chinatown. The first one is a regular fire engine you might find anywhere in NYC. The second is not, it’s extra long and has what’s called a ‘Tiller Ladder’ on the back. And in a covered in cage behind this long, long ladder sits a firefighter on a spring loaded seat. Underneath him is a fifth wheel which he operates and which enables these extra long firetrucks to be driven around very tight corners in places like Chiantown and downtown Brooklyn where otherwise they wouldn’t be able to go.
A tiller Ladder is a specialized turntable ladder mounted on a semi-trailer truck. Apart from being very manoevrable because of it’s fifth wheel, a Tiller Ladder is much longer and allows extra equipment to be stored on board the truck. NYC has about 13 of these special Tiller Ladder trucks and now you’ll be able to recognize them as they roar past.