Sutphen aerial devices


Additional details (and history) related to the recent failures (and previous reported recall) of the Sutphen aerial devices. Naturally, if you have any questions or concerns, reach out to the folks at Sutphen directly. This information was sent via the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. According to their information, recall inspections were done on these rigs (see below) between 2/1/2013 and 5/17/2013, by specially trained technicians. One report shows that 28 of the 156 rigs needed to be repaired.


On May 22, 2013 their Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened a Preliminary Evaluation investigation (PE13-017) on Sutphen SPH aerial ladder bucket equipped vehicles for cable failures resulting in unintended bucket retraction. ODI closed the PE on November 19, 2013 when Sutphen submitted a safety recall 13V-565 in which they concluded that the main bucket cables were wearing and failing. The bearings in the sheaves used in the extend/retract the system were seizing and preventing the sheaves from rotating. The cables sliding over the non-moving sheaves could wear and result in reduced load carrying capacity. Failure of the extend/retract system could result in either the aerial becoming inoperable or cause it to unexpectedly retract. This movement could result in damage to the vehicle and/or injuries to personnel on or around the vehicle.


Since the closing of PE13-017 ODI has been made aware (through media reports) of two post recall failures that resulted in 6 injuries. These failures occurred following the implementation of the recall remedy on the vehicles. ODI is also aware that Sutphen sent a field representative to assist and evaluate the failure mechanism in each event. The first incident occurred in Belle Valley, PA on Wednesday June 25, 2014 where three people were injured when a platform cable failed. The second incident occurred in Hall County, Georgia on Tuesday July 22, 2014. In that case, three people were seriously injured when a platform cable failed. Both vehicles were remedied per safety recall 13V-565. As a result of the injuries and post remedy failures, ODI is opening this Recall Query (RQ) to assess the adequacy of the recall remedy.

Additional details can be found on these links

This page shows investigations within the last 30 days


Hall County (GA) Fire Chief David Kimbrell was relieved of duty this week-and it may or may not be tied to that failed tower ladder. However, Chief Kimbrell, as part of his job, was to go before commissioners with information about the used 2006 Sutphen fire truck, that they bought. It was the same truck bought back by the company from South Carolina, after a fire department there "had lost all confidence in the truck, due its catastrophic and consistent failures."

However, Chief Kimbrell stated that "no one involved with procuring the ladder had any knowledge of its reported history during the procurement; it was never revealed by the manufacturer."


-we'll be able to learn what happened to the numerous failed rigs-including Hall County-and we suspect there will be numerous "lessons learned" when it all comes out.


-when purchasing used apparatus, INSIST on a full "background check" that goes from the time of manufacturer to delivery to the most recent use-and every aspect at each and every level. INSIST on full disclosure of names, phones numbers and anything else that will INSURE you and your department know everything about that rig-everything. Make the hone calls and ask the questions-DO NOT risk your folks in what may be a predictable-and preventable event. HERE is much more from the media:


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