Asheville Fire’s dual driver ladder truck maneuvers through tight spots, features tall ladder

Asheville fire tiller truck
Ladder 1's tractor drawn aerial truck uses two drivers/engineers — one in the front and another in the back.


Hey Asheville, have you wondered what kind of fire truck AFD’s dual driver ladder truck is? 


It’s called a tiller truck or a tractor drawn aerial (TDA). This hook-and-ladder truck features a specialized turntable ladder mounted on a semi-trailer truck. Ladder 1 was purchased for $1.2 million back in 2019.  It runs out of the downtown station and responds to more than 2,800 calls per year.  


Asheville fire tiller truck viewsMaybe you are wondering why the Asheville Fire Department chose to purchase this type of truck versus a standard ladder truck.  This type of ladder truck allows our firefighters to more safely maneuver through the narrow streets and challenging terrain of downtown Asheville. These types of trucks are designed with increased maneuverability with shorter wheelbases and impressive turning radius. 


The tractor drawn aerial truck responds to fires, rescues, car wrecks and EMS calls. Its ladder extends to 103 feet. 

And while it primarily serves downtown, it is available to serve the entire city, if needed. 


Extensive training has been delivered to several AFD engineers across three shifts who are responsible for operating this fire truck. Training includes driving through the company’s first responding area in non-emergency situations to be better prepared and to discover any challenging situations they could encounter prior to an emergency. Other advantages of this tractor drawn aerial truck is you have two drivers/engineers, and with two of everything they can get any job done better — two sets of eyes, two pairs of hands, and two brains.  Also, this type of truck accommodates a greater number of ground ladders with more variety than a typical ladder truck, providing firefighters greater ability to reach more windows and roofs where the aerial ladder cannot. It also has larger storage compartments, allowing the truck  to carry more rescue equipment.


Watch how this truck can make tight turns


Just so you know, this isn’t AFD’s first tractor drawn aerial truck.  The department purchased its first motorized tractor drawn aerial truck in 1923. Built by American LaFrance, it’s purchase price was $16,100.  


Asheville fire first motorized truck
Asheville Fire Department’s first motorized tractor drawn aerial truck was put into service in 1923.