Built on experience, driven by a desire to create smarter, tougher fire trucks, HME Ahrens-Fox stands as a leader in fire apparatus innovation, quality, safety and performance.
HME was originally a division of the Hendrickson Mobile Truck company, a storied corporation with a century of leadership in heavy-duty suspension design. HME (Hendrickson Mobile Equipment), was the first choice for custom fire apparatus chassis, by the industry’s leading manufacturers, for decades.
Under the current family’s ownership* the HME Ahrens-Fox established long-term financial stability and widened its scope of capabilities, investing in total vertical integration of design, engineering and manufacturing processes, under one roof.
Total vertical integration has allowed the company to achieve a new level of production agility, quickly responding to industry demands for improved functionality and integration of advanced technologies.
With a continued priority on innovation, and the addition of a premium line of Ahrens-Fox badged fire apparatus and products, HME Ahrens-Fox is poised to lead the industry with quality, safe, durable, high-performance fire apparatus.
*Atonne Group, LLC
The HME Difference
Rich in history and experience, evolving from preeminence in chassis design and engineering, today HME Ahrens-Fox stands as the leader in fire apparatus innovation. A legacy of excellence, a future dedicated to enhanced performance and value, HME Ahrens-Fox’s continues on a path of delivering new ideas and solutions.
The History of HME Ahrens-Fox
1910 – Ahrens-Fox®
HME is proud to carry the Ahrens-Fox® emblem on its finest fire apparatus. Founded in 1910 in Cincinnati, Ohio by John Ahrens and Charles Fox, Ahrens-Fox® built its first motorized fire engine in 1911, one year before the end of production of horse-drawn fire apparatus. Ahrens-Fox® fire apparatus were known for their quality, power, durability, and long service life and served many departments, not only in the United States but throughout the world. Today, HME Ahrens-Fox® keeps this great tradition alive, and pays tribute to its legacy with innovative and high-quality fire apparatus engineering that is worthy of the Ahrens-Fox® name.
1913 – Magnus Hendrickson
HME traces its manufacturing origins directly to the Hendrickson Mobile Truck Company, founded in 1913 by heavy-duty suspension inventor and innovator, Magnus Hendrickson.
1915 - Ahrens-Fox® in New York City
While it wasn’t the largest fleet of Ahrens-Fox® fire apparatus to serve any one department, 50 Ahrens-Fox® fire trucks served in New York City for six decades, starting in 1915. These Ahrens-Fox® fire apparatus included pumpers, aerial ladders, and an airport crash rig, converted from a pumper, which is thought to be the only Ahrens-Fox® airport crash unit of its kind. Ahrens-Fox® apparatus were engaged in some of the most historic multiple fires in New York's history.
1970’s – Ahrens-Fox® legacy
Ahrens-Fox® produced over 1500 fire apparatus until the late 1970s. The F.D.N.Y. unit best known for its use of Ahrens-Fox® fire apparatus, was Engine Company 65, located in midtown Manhattan. Engine 65 operated every model of Ahrens-Fox® piston pumpers in New York from 1916 until the end of the Ahrens-Fox® era. While the last delivery of Ahrens-Fox® to NYS was recorded in the late 1930s, with the largest delivery of Ahrens-Fox® fire apparatus that was recorded in 1938, Ahrens-Fox® fire trucks were found in service in the city well into the 1950s, and some outside the city in the 1970s. In fact, in the late 1970s, a 1938 Ahrens-Fox® HT model was discovered in upstate Orange County. This historic fire truck was eventually relocated to the New York State Museum in Albany where it’s currently on display with several other pieces of fire apparatus. It is the only surviving example of an F.D.N.Y. Ahrens-Fox®.
1978 – HME firetrucks®
In 1978 Hendrickson Mobile Equipment became known as HME. It was sold to the Boler Group and focused on the production of custom cab and chassis for extreme duty applications. It was also during this period that HME was purchased by its current owners.
1983 – HME tilt-cab innovation
HME introduced tilt-cab engineering to the fire industry in 1983. The first-ever tilt-cab design function, and the use of cab-forward trucks with their shorter overall lengths and improved maneuverability and handling characteristics, proved to be highly practicable for fire apparatus applications. In addition to improved turning and handling, and the creation of more compact and shorter fire trucks, the design also provided easier and more efficient access to the engine compartment – lowering maintenance time and costs for fire departments.
1985-1988 – HME fire truck chassis
The 1980’s marked an era of explosive innovation and engineering for HME in the fire apparatus manufacturing industry. It began with the introduction of the fire industry’s first tilt-cab. HME’s tilt-cab quickly became and industry standard for all fire apparatus and ushered in a new era shorter overall lengths and improved maneuverability that continues to this day. It was during this period that HME moved from Chicago, Illinois, to its current location, in Wyoming, Michigan, a suburb of Grand Rapids, Michigan. After the relocation HME produced hundreds of the original VT-100 custom fire apparatus chassis, the Panther I Aerial and the Panther II Pumper, for the Grumman Emergency Products Division.
1992 – HME 1871®
In the 1990’s HME took the lead as the premiere source of custom fire apparatus in the United States. The company produced variations of its maneuverable, stable and durable HME 1871® chassis for the nation’s leading brands of fire apparatus. The expertise and experience in custom chassis design for fire apparatus has been key to the development new design for a wide range of environments and applications.
2002-2018 – HME SilverFox® and the first Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fire apparatus
The integration of advanced manufacturing processes with the latest technologies, launched the first complete HME Fire Apparatus. The cost-effective HME SilverFox® was introduced during this period. The HME SilverFox® remains an industry standard for high-performance custom pumper capability and functionality. In 2010, HME introduced the first Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fire apparatus.
2014-2016 – Aerial Products
In 2014 HME-Ahrens moved to total vertical integration of design, engineering, manufacturing and testing processes, under one roof. Total vertical integration has allowed the company to integrate new technologies and systems into new and innovative fire apparatus. HME Aerial Products was the first to benefit from vertical integration, incorporate HME’s own steel ladders, pedestals, hot-dipped galvanized frame components, advanced control systems, rung-alignment systems and obstacle avoidance technologies. In 2016 the company fully acquired the Ahrens-Fox brand.
2017-2019 - HME Ahrens-Fox Product Line
HME Ahrens-Fox entered an era of innovation and industry leadership with the introduction of unique fire apparatus and new technologies. A line of premium fire trucks and products was launched in 2017, under the Ahrens-Fox badge. Ahrens-Fox premium brand products include the only stainless steel centrifugal pump, the AF-SS2000, Glass Screen Technology™, touch-screen controls, a complete Glass Screen Cockpit™, a revolutionary Distributed Water System™, replacing existing pump panels and Ahrens-Fox MadDogxl CAFs. In 2018 the Ahrens-Fox-1 Cab and Chassis, featuring a full Glass Screen Cockpit, along with the Ahrens-Fox Wildland Urban Interface™ (AF-WUI™) a combination Type-I and Type-III engine, were introduced. More, innovative HME Ahrens-Fox and Ahrens-Fox apparatus, technologies and products are slated for release throughout 2019.