Ansul Chemical Company of Marinette, Wisconsin apparently installed dry-chemical fire fighting apparatus on Willys Jeep vehicles for at least ten years.
Ansul Jeeps protected airports, military air bases, oil refineries and chemical plants, particularly small installations or those with narrow access roads. But this picture of a Ansul CJ-3B in front of the new firehouse at O'Hare Airport in Chicago in 1962, shows that they were also in use at large international airports.
Behind the Jeep is a WWII-surplus 1943 Sterling Class 150 crash truck, converted by the CFD shops from liquid foam to a Cardox (carbon dioxide) unit in 1956. It carried 6000 pounds of CO2 and 500 pounds of liquid foam.
The 1961 Ansul unit was known as "Jeep Chemical No. 1" and had the distinctive Chicago FD red and green lights port and starboard, but was painted in Civil Defense blue and white.
This closer view is a detail from the photo above, taken by the late Warren Redick, a CFD Battalion Chief and co-author of Classic Chicago Fire Department Images From the 1950s and 1960s. Photo courtesy of Steve Redick at KSC711.
Ken Little, co-author of the four-volume History of Chicago Fire Houses sent this undated photo of the O'Hare Jeep. Ken says, "The rig was known as Jeep Chemical No. 1 and carried Ansul Dry Powder in a container in the back. The main Fire Alarm Office was never notified that this rig was in service so I do not believe we have in service dates, but this Jeep was replaced in 1963 by a Dodge Power Wagon with an Ansul tank."
It's surprising that it wasn't replaced with an Ansul FC-170 Jeep (see below), knowing the CFD's fondness for Jeep FC Units.
Pete Ritter of Long Island MacArthur Airport Fire Rescue sent these old photos of a 1953 CJ-3B that served Islip MacArthur Airport on Long Island, from the 1950s through the early 1970's. He says, "According to the current owner who stripped it down and restored it (without the Ansul setup), it was originally painted in a green metallic color, then red and finally airport yellow."
"At one point in the 1950s there were two of these serving here as part of the Sperry Gyroscope Corporation fire brigade. This one was given to the airport when a formal Fire Rescue department was established in the early 1960s."
Interestingly, there are almost identical photos taken before and after the department changed colors in 1966-67. See also a side view in red (50K JPEG).
And see also the side view in yellow (50K JPEG), including the Kenworth/Mack Class 155 ex-Army Air Corps crash truck, circa 1944, which also served into the early'70s.
Pete says that after its service at MacArthur, this Jeep was sent to a general aviation field known as Edwards Airport (now Bayport Aerodrome) and then forgotten about in the corner of a maintenance building until being surplussed about 2001.
Thanks to Lew Ladwig for this photo of an Ansul CJ-3B, on display in 2013 in the lobby of the airport at Elko, Nevada. It's the first one I've seen with a trailer, apparently carrying a couple of additional 300-pound dry-chemical cylinders.
The Elko Regional Airport has a lot of history, having been established in 1919 as a stop on the first transcontinental air route. But I have no details on when the Jeep was in service there.
The Elko Fire Department is obviously taking good care of the Jeep, and had it out on display as part of their fundraising drive for for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in August 2017. Thanks to the Elko Daily Free Press for the photo by Erik Jorgensen which gives a good look at the trailer's two-cylinder system.
An Ansul CJ-3B also protected the Albany NY County Airport for many years. The large copy (120K JPEG) of this 1988 photo reveals the passenger seat raised to clear the nitrogen pressure tank mounted below it. The passenger would have a good view as long as the soft top was removed!
The photo is from the collection of the late Richard M. Adelman of Memphis TN. Thanks to Gary Urbanowicz for spotting the photo.
Firefighter Allen Pinney sent CJ3B.info another photo. He wrote, "I was a member of the New Salem Fire Dept. in NY, and I love the article on our old Jeep (I drove it more than once to a brush fire or parade.) I also worked at the Albany Co. Airport as a firefighter and we had an Ansul Dry Chem Jeep there. I only have one photo (from 1988-89) and unfortunately I do not know what became of her. Thanks for bringing back some great memories!"
The Ansul catalogue seen here is dated 1961, and lists the CJ-3B chassis as a standard package, but the illustration shows a CJ-3A (50K JPEG) from 1953 or earlier.
Ansul equipment was available for truck or trailer mounting as required by the customer, and the catalogue states that "Ansul fire trucks of many sizes and descriptions protect civil and military airports, oil fields, refineries, armed forces installations, and large industrial and chemical plants all over the world." Their recommended platform however, was the Willys Jeep. The catalogue listing for the J2-340 package on the CJ-3B, specifies a 300-pound dry-chemical unit with two 50-ft. hoses, and two hand extinguishers.
The illustration also shows a Jeep Forward Control FC-150 (70K JPEG) but the catalogue lists a 1000-pound T-1000-B dry-chemical unit as being normally mounted on the larger FC-170.
See the catalogue's list of specifications (170K JPEG) for the CJ-3B and FC-170 packages. Catalogue from the collection of Thomas D. Engle.
This low-mileage 1962 CJ-3B, in excellent condition and fitted with an original Ansul J2-340 package, surfaced for sale in Pennsylvania in 2004.
The Jeep was purchased to service corporate aircraft. The vehicle was never 'on the road,' shows 5,040 miles on the odometer, and has always been in a hangar. A photo with the rear compartment open (80K JPEG) shows the coil of rubber hose for the foam system. The right side (50K JPEG) also has a hose compartment, with its own hose line valve.
The Jeep has VIN 57348-88494 (55K JPEG) and according to Kaiser Jeep 1960-67 Serial Numbers it was built in late January 1962. It has been used since then to move corporate aircraft in the hangar and maintenance areas, and it's not clear whether it has ever actually been used to fight an aircraft fire. A front view photo (60K JPEG) shows a front hitch and a piece of PVC pipe attached to the bumper apparently for mounting some piece of equipment.
This rear view shows the foam tank enclosed in the center of the rear cargo area, the clear aircraft warning beacon, and the original fire axe (55K JPEG).
The Jeep has all paperwork beginning when the original corporate owner took delivery in 1962: the original Pennsylvania title, Willy's Owners Service Policy, 5 Year Ansul Warranty Cards, and service records.
The interior photo shows the hood-mounted extinguishers and spotlight, and a nitrogen-filled pressure cylinder below the passenger seat. Other detail photos include the odometer showing 5040 miles (50K JPEG) and a dash tag showing Ansul S.N. 4327 (50K JPEG).
The passenger seat mounts were actually raised about six inches to clear the nitrogen cylinder (left), which apparently extended forward from the tailgate. Tilting up the seat reveals the cylinder and pressure gauges (70K JPEG).
See also the tank piping (50K JPEG) and the control valves (80K JPEG) beside the driver's seat.
The operating instructions (150K JPEG) include blowing out the hoses after use. Another label shows the applicable patents (70K JPEG).
The engine compartment is clean and complete: see the engine right side (80K JPEG) and a top view (80K JPEG).
The Jeep was sold in 2004 by D'Ogee Inc., brokers for used industrial equipment.
Here's the Ansul 1000-pound system installed on a Forward Control FC-170. This truck has been restored by the Military Firefighter Heritage Foundation and is displayed with their collection at Goodfellow AFB in Texas. Jim Fairweather told us, "The predecessor to the modern P-13 and P-20 USAF firefighting vehicles, this last-of-its-kind Ansul/Jeep dry chemical vehicle served at Thule AB, Greenland, where its small size enabled it to traverse the narrow tunnels connecting the buildings and nodes of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS)."
See also a front view photo (60K JPEG) and a left side view of the tanks (60K JPEG).
Thanks to Wes Kibble, Ken Little, Allen Pinney, Lew Ladwig, and Helen Stratton of D'Ogee Inc. for photos. Also Thomas D. Engle for the Ansul catalogue. -- Derek Redmond
See a similar dry chemical rig built by Electromagnetic Industries Inc. for the U.S. Marine Corps, in Fire Jeeps in Vietnam.
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