1973 527 Covington Fire Company Ladder Truck
The Brockway Museum Board of Directors would like to thank the Covington Fire Company for the gracious donation of their 1973 Model 527 ladder truck. This truck is one of the first donations the museum has received and the truck was presented at the 10th Annual Brockway Truck Show this past August.
Up until the summer of 2009, Covington not only had one but two Brockway’s in service. In 1971, the fire company was in the process of restoring a 1966 Model 257 to be used as a tanker. The restoration was three quarters complete when a fire broke out in the fire house and destroyed the truck. To replace the damaged Brockway, Covington ordered a new 361 and fitted it with the tank that was originally intended for the 257. Shortly thereafter, Covington decided to order a 527 and this is where the story gets interesting.
Brockway’s were well liked trucks in Northeastern Pennsylvania and had support from two factory branches, one in Scranton and one in Kingston. Covington like the style and design of the 527, but weren’t happy with the available power options. A 270 hi-torque Cummins was available but not with a turbo. Apparently the engineers at the time did not feel a turbo would fit in the smaller cab design of the 527. After some discussion, Covington purchased the 527 with the 270 and had it towed from Cortland to Daleville. At this time the truck did not have the interior completed. When it arrived in Daleville, members of the fire department, led by Art Toy, modified the cab and installed the turbo. After the installation was complete, engineers from Cortland visited the fire company to review the installation. The truck was then shipped back to Cortland where the factory fitted out and finished the installation of the interior. From Cortland it made its way to Ward laFrance where the fire apparatus, including the pump was installed.
Brockway was so impressed with the truck that they featured in on the cover of the August/ September 1973 issue of the “Brock-caster”, their bi-monthly company publication. In describing the truck, the publication stated “The many applications advertised for the new Brockway 527 failed to include fire apparatus. But, as the Covington Co. of Daleville, Pa. proved, it makes a perfect fire truck chassis.”
During its 35 plus years of service, several modifications were made to the truck. In 1981 the pump was rebuilt and upgraded from 1000 gpm to 1500 gpm. In 1986, the original 5 speed transmission was removed and replaced with an HT740 Allison that was donated from a damaged Hahn fire truck. At this time they also removed and replaced with existing 270 hi-torque Cummins with a 350. Then in 1999 there was some discussion about retiring and selling the truck. The company was also considering replacing their aging 1958 International V220 ladder truck with a new model, and after taking some measurements, it was decided to keep the Brockway and re-fit it with the ladder from the International. Work began on transferring the equipment from on truck to the other. The ladder was able to be switched over but the turn table and compartments were sourced from a salvage yard. They also decided to upgrade the outriggers from manual to hydraulic. The restoration was completed in 2000 and the truck was put back into service.
Following the restoration, the truck was featured on the cover on the Summer 2002 issue of the "Keystone State Fire Apparatus News". It was also featured in the "Rehabs" section of the November/December 2002 issue of the “Fire Apparatus Journal”. When the company finally to retire the 527 and order a new ladder truck, it was decided to donate the truck to the Brockway Museum in lieu of selling it outright.