CJ-3A Fire Service Conversions


CJ-3A Universal Jeeps were turned into "factory" Jeep Fire Engines by both Boyer Fire Apparatus and a Howe Fire Apparatus, although they are harder to find than CJ-2As or even CJ-3Bs. There have also been some interesting examples of non-standard CJ-3A fire truck conversions, particularly by Kronenburg in the Netherlands (see below).

General Electric Specialty Control

FrontHere is a unique Jeep pumper which has been seen at various fire apparatus musters since it was donated in 2002 to the Old Dominion Historical Fire Society (ODHFS) in Virginia. It's a 1951 CJ-3A which was bought as a stock vehicle by General Electric in 1953, for its new Specialty Control plant in Waynesboro VA.

It's seen here in April 2016 in Winchester VA, prior to the annual Apple Blossom Firefighters' Parade. Photo by Jack Sullivan for ODHFS.

RearThe General Electric shops converted the stock 3A into a mini-pumper, which went into service in February 1955. The 250 GPM pump was rear mounted, and in addition to a 50-gallon water tank there was lots of room for equipment storage. The Jeep was not required to carry ladders or suction hose, and apparently was not expected to do much off-pavement driving, allowing some low-slung storage lockers. This 2010 photo is by Mike Sanders.

The ODHFS is the Virginia Chapter of the Society for the Preservation & Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America (SPAAMFAA). Their 2010 Statewide Muster was held at Ridgeview Park in Waynesboro, where Jack Sullivan took this great photo of the Jeep drafting from the South River.

PostcardThe former Waynesboro airport had been acquired by General Electric in 1953, for a new plant which was part of the Corporation's effort to decentralize from the northeast to other parts of the US. Construction began immediately, and it produced a building boom in the rest of Waynesboro, to accommodate workers and their families. (Wikipedia)

The Specialty Control Plant produced relays, control systems and other products for aerospace, military, industrial and computer applications. This postcard is courtesy of USGen Web Archives.

1954By the summer of 1954 production of photoelectric devices was begun with the hiring of a few women from the local area, and by the end of that year there were 400 employees. Employment peaked at 3200 during the late 1970s, but some departments were transferred to other plants, and GE sold the facility to Genicom Corporation in 1983. The property now leases space to smaller businesses. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.

Waynesboro, 2010Luckily this unique piece of apparatus was saved when the GE plant closed. The ODHFS brought the Specialty Control Fire Jeep back to Waynesboro for their 2010 Statewide Muster, and in this photo by Jack Sullivan the "Willys" stamping in the front bumper is clearly visible. The GE shop used the chrome rear bumper from a Willys station wagon as a nice finishing touch for their Jeep.

More 3As

Provincetown, 1950Provincetown, Mass. Engine No.6, circa 1950. This CJ-3A with a pump trailer was in service into the 1970's. Jim Fairweather found the excellent page of Provincetown FD history at CapeCodFD.com, which says the trailer may have been built by Maxim during WWII, and was probably 500 gpm.

South DakotaRus Curtis spotted this CJ-3A still in service with Hill City Fire Department in South Dakota. Rus notes: "The HCFD said they've owned it since 1951. They used to use it for brush fires but use it now to run errands." See a rear view photo (80K JPEG) which shows the Jeep serving as a hose wagon.


Kronenburg Jeeps

Kronenburg BV modified some Willys CJ-3As for the fire service at their plant in Hedel, in central Netherlands. Rather than building a superstructure on the rear for hose storage, the Kronenburg approach was to add a rear bed extension.

KronenburgThe Kronenburg Jeeps are also notable for their huge front pump platform.

This 1950 CJ-3A was originally sold to Nibbixwoud in North Holland, and later restored by J.P. Luken in nearby Zwaagdijk. It's seen here at a 2013 car show in Venhuizen. The Kronenburg builder's plate is visible on the windshield frame. Photo by Skitmeister on Flickr.

A. Kriek photo Most of the Kronenburg CJ-3As were ordered by the Royal Netherlands Air Force. A photo by Adriaan Kriek shows one now owned by the museum of the Artillery Training Center in Oldebroek. The Kronenburg units typically include the body extension, large front-mounted pump, and long flexible suction hose. This one has a trailer to allow it to lay a long run of large-diameter hose. Photo courtesy Historical Fire Engines Europe.

KronenburgSome pictures almost suggest the rear bed extension was necessary to counterbalance the pump on the front. In this photo, the pump platform appears to extend nearly 4 feet from the radiator guard.

This 3A is one of 30 Jeeps, equipped with heavier front and rear springs, delivered by the Air Force to Kronenburg for conversion as fire engines. Photo courtesy Jan Hogendoorn.

Air Force The fire brigade at the Air Force's Technical and Equipment Service Depot at Jessurunkamp in Soestduinen is seen in this undated photo courtesy of the Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie. A Kronenburg CJ-3A is parked betwen a pump trailer and a NEKAF M38A1.

1949 KronenburgThis example is evidence that not all the Kronenburg Jeeps were lengthened. This 1949 3A saw service in Vriezenveen, near the German border in the Dutch province of Overijssel. It is estimated that only ten Kronenburg 3As were sold to the civilian market.

Photo from the archive of the Vereniging van Belangstellenden in het Brandweerwezen ("Firefighting Interest Association") on their website Brandweer.org.

Crash Jeep In January 1953, the Air Force also ordered 27 CJ-3A crash rescue Jeeps from P.J. Pennock & Sons in The Hague. This configuration dispensed with the pump and ladder rack, but had the body extension as well as adding a trailer, for cylinders of CO2 and methyl bromide (used at the time as an extinguishing agent.)

These units had a Koenig PTO winch on the front, a complement of tools including power saws, and a couple of tripod-mounted floodlights. Photo courtesy Jan Hogendoorn.

See more Jeeps in the Netherlands on CJ3B.info.

Thanks to Jack Sullivan, Adriaan Kriek and James Fairweather. -- Derek Redmond

Also on CJ3B.info, see a Boyer CJ-3A Fire Engine and a 1952 Howe CJ-3A.

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Last updated 17 October 2018 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond