“Pit Fire” Gone Wrong

Submitted by Bill Schneider (October 6, 2020)

I am submitting photos of a training “Pit Fire” staged for Sembach locals (circa 1963), where we doused an airframe carcass with jet fuel, set it alight and moved in our crash rescue trucks to demonstrate our firefighting skills.

When crash truck #1555 (an American LaFrance Type 0-11a) approached the burning airframe, the wind suddenly shifted.   It was so strong that the crash truck’s top cannons (2) didn’t have enough pressure to get the foam out to the flames, and neither did the hand linemen’s’ hoses.  Flames engulfed truck #1555.

We had to bring in my truck (#857 – another American LaFrance Type 0-11a) on the leeward side to extinguish the fire.

It was very embarrassing for our Fire Chief. I’m sure the locals got a laugh out of it.

Truck #1555 ended up getting a new paint job.

Truck #1555
Truck #1555
Truck #857

Truck #857 –   #(?) –  #1555.
The Chief’s “Red Dog 1” is the Ford pickup at far right.