Fire Department Built Rigs


Roane County, Tennessee, has a long history of building their own fire trucks. There are several photos on file with the Roane Co. Historical Society of homebuilt pumpers used by the Roane Co. Vol. Fire Dept. (defunct)

Along with two brush trucks built by East Roane Co. VFD, the department also built a combination brush fire/service co. truck. It started life as a propane truck that was donated to the department. The fire chief at the time, Donnie Eblen, was also an engineer who worked for the Dept. of Energy in Oak Ridge. He designed and built the truck. It is powered by a 366 Tonawanda engine, backed by a 5-speed transmission. The truck was converted over from propane to gasoline. It has a 300 gpm Gorman-Rupp midship PTO pump. The truck was built using a Reading utility body, three cross-lays, and two rear-mounted Hannay hose reels. One reel has 150 feet of 1" booster line, one reel has 700 feet of 3/4" hose. The water tank is 500 gallons and constructed out of aluminum.

The department's first truck was built by the membership from an old 1955 (?) 1 1/2 ton Chevy dump truck. It was equipped with a 500 gallon plastic tank, a Wisconsin water pump, and a hose reel.