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SMI Firemaster Canada
Fire Engine Photos
No: 18889   Contributor: Bob Drummond   Year: 2009   Manufacturer: Other   Country: Australia
SMI Firemaster Canada

This is now in Australia. Could anyone please inform me of where they were made and also anyone got any workshop books on them. I think it is the only one in Australia.
Picture added on 28 August 2009 at 19:50
add commentComments:
Bob: it is a Sicard - started with Arthur Sicard of Quebec, inventing the first commercial truck-mounted rotary snow-blower in 1927.

Over the years, the company made all kinds of specialist trucks, including garbage trucks, street washers, runway sweepers, snow-plows, etc for airports, municipalities, and military bases world-wide. Which would explain the Right Hand Drive on your machine.

There is no mistaking that "boxy" look. In fact, look out your airplane window, at any Canadian airport in winter; and you will likely see orange-painted Sicard equipment hard at work on the snow-laden runways - snow-blowers, runway sweepers, etc.

I actually didn't know that Sicard had produced some of the Airport Crash Trucks, that I would have seen, in my travels about Canada.

The corporate business is shown as "Sicard - a division of SMI-Snowblast Inc, Watertown, New York, USA and Sicard SSI Group of Knowlton, Quebec, Canada."

I haven't learned much of the Airport Crash Trucks; there are some used models for sale in the papers; and E-Bay has an Operator's Manual for a 1973 model.

The current company might be able to help you from their archives at:

but, it will be a hoot, initially explaining your-self from "hot and dry Australia", as Sicard just seem to be doing snow removal equipment now !

Thanks, for showing us a piece of Canadian Fire-Truck history; that I never knew of, all the way from "Down-Under"

Regards, from Canada,

Added by Pat Rivers-Bowerman on 29 August 2009.
PS Your machine looks to be in pretty good shape; would you be able to pick any data off the various plaques - Manufacturer's Plate, Pump Panel, Underwriter's Laboratories' Pump Test, etc; to assist the sleuths here, in tracking down your machine ?


Added by Pat Rivers-Bowerman on 29 August 2009.
Thanks Bob, she looks a grand machine, as Pat has said, I have come across lots of Sicard airport equipment but never knew they had made these machines. They look similar to some smaller Oshkosh contraptions, is it a licence built copy?

Added by John Stott on 29 August 2009.
This truck is a P-17 built for the US Navy. They were built in the Watertown New York facility. I believe that 34 were built in total but they did not remain in service for long. The US Navy would be your best bet for manuals. None of these were delivered in Canada.

Added by Dan Goyer on 11 October 2009.
Dan G. - thanks for the info.

How come, these machines were not long in service with the US Navy ?

And, could this one have arrived in Australia; after being disposed of, from a nearby US Navy Facility....?

Regards, from Canada,

Added by Pat Rivers-Bowerman on 12 October 2009.
Dan, thanks for clarifying, I saw the USS John F Kennedy years ago and noticed a small truck like this on the flight deck, was it this type do you know?

Added by John Stott on 12 October 2009.
John - you got me scanning various overhead photos of aircraft carriers on the Web.

Lots of yellow dots, around the Island on the Flight Deck; but I couldn't make out any Fire Trucks.

Mind you, with a Flight Deck 1,050 feet long by 267 feet wide [320m by 81.4] and carrying 78 aircraft; and a "town population" of over 5,000 crew - the JFK would be worthy of a good-sized Fire Department.

And, all those landings and take-offs - she had 4 catapults....and, there were some serious fires on her fleet-mates.

Apart from "Jumbo", the mobile crane: most carrier vehicles are low, to get around underneath air-craft wings.

So, any idea, if she might have been merely transporting the Fire Truck to a US Navy Air Facility on land ?

As usual, the Marcel(s) have a picture #3210, by K9, of a "mule-type" Fire Apparatus, actually carried on a US Navy Carrier.

BTW, the JFK was laid up at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in August, 2007.

Regards, from Canada,

Added by Pat Rivers-Bowerman on 12 October 2009.
Hi Pat, dont lose any sleep over it! I saw her off the coast in Shetland when I was stationed there and it was definatly there. Rather ironic that the most northly firemen in the UK were staring at a fire engine on an aircraft carrier! Didnt know she had been laid up, it was an impressive sight with Russian "trawlers" trailing behind.

Added by John Stott on 13 October 2009.
US carriers did have "proper"fire trucks,i believe it was the MB5 type.
I have a book with some pictures of one and there was a film which included one in use.

Added by Bob on 13 October 2009.
Thanks Bob, it reminded me of the Oshkosh contraptions I later came across with the USAF, says a lot for the size of the decks.

Added by John Stott on 13 October 2009.
Bob & John:

I came across a history of USS Independence CV-62 (b.1959; retired 1998) on the 'Web; mentions incident in September 1969, where 2 fuel tanks fell off an aircraft on launching, the MB5 responded from the Island, and, had fire out in 48 seconds.

Naturally, the Marcel(s) have picture #1659 of a US Navy MB5 Crash Truck made by Oshkosh, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, here. Also built by American LaFrance, Ward LaFrance; and, Marmon-Herrington (who are still in business).

And, in #1659 Comments; another pair of eagle-eyes on an island (Malta) reports sighting a fire-truck on a US Carrier......

Fascinating business - flying aeroplanes from the roof of a ship.

Regards, from Canada,

Added by Pat Rivers-Bowerman on 14 October 2009.
Thanks Pat, I knew I had seen it! picture #1659 looks the same, very boxy body.

Added by John Stott on 14 October 2009.
G'day Bob,

Is the truck in active service? I have an Austral Trident that i'm restoring.. would like to get in touch..

Added by Richie on 29 August 2010.
I just bought the twin to your truck and don't need any of the pumping or water related equipment, I would be glad to make it available to you. I only want the cab, chassis and main engine.

Added by Miles Beacom on 11 November 2012.
Firemaster = Ferrara

Added by Robert Nelson on 10 December 2012.
this looks like the same truck used in new zealand at hawkes bay airport operated by a company called TASK that looked after some provincial airports in the north island.

Click to View
Click to View

Added by Peter Rietveld on 20 May 2013.
It seems to me there is much speculation about who built this appliance and how it arrived in Australia.

If it built by for the US Navy, as suggested by Dan Goyer, could he (or someone else) explain why it is RH drive.

Also, does anyone out there have a definitive answer on the origin of this rare appliance.
Steve P

Added by Steve Prosser on 29 January 2014.
If this is right hand drive it will be the one we converted from left hand drive (smi) snow mobiles incorporated where the manufactures we purchased and shipped it to New Zealand and converted it to right hand drive it was In service at Palmerston north and Hawkes bay for a time and was sold on to where I don't know they were built for US Navy.

Added by Greg Eades on 14 September 2016.
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