QUICK RESPONSE BRINGS QUICK CONTROL. Hawk tools landed with several Frederick, Maryland, fire companies at a quickly-evolving blaze in a large tire store complex, at 901 N. East Street. With reports of dark smoke issuing from the store’s service bays, first arriving units laid in and set up and rapidly implemented offensive operations. Citizen’s Truck Company Truck 42 quickly established roof and ground support operations. Engine crews advanced lines inside and, despite heavy smoke conditions in the offices and public spaces, quickly found and controlled the fire in a restroom. The cause was determined to be a malfunction in the bathrooms fluorescent lighting.
A SAMPLING OF HAWK TOOL GENERATIONS. Although the fire was quickly controlled, there was already significant lateral spread, requiring extended and tedious overhaul, both inside and out. Frederick fire companies are pretty well equipped. As captured by the ever-present, ever-alert fire photographer Trevor James, the hand tools were out in force at Mr. Tire. And, since the Malven Hawk tool was under active development while its designer was spending 6 months living in Truck 4’s house, whenever they’re on the scene, you’re likely to see any and every version of the tool on hand and at work.
That was the case here. In Trevor’s photo, the current (6th generation) version of the Hawk tool is the blue tool seen roosting on the stepladder. The newest version of the Hawk is pretty common in Frederick area fire stations so this one could have been anyone’s. However, it’s blue-all-over paint color leaves little doubt that it was off of Squad 3’s rig. Far less common, anywhere, is the hook coming down the ladder with the roofies. It’s a 2nd generation Hawk tool prototype– probably part of Citizens’ Truck 42’s collection. Early in the Hawk Tool’s development, a short run of virtually every revision was produced for field evaluation. These were intended to be purely research and development models. However, at the time, there wasn’t much variety in the fire tool marketplace and Martin Vitali, then owner/president of now-defunct Iowa-American Firefighting Equipment (first manufacturers of the tool) liked to capitalize on every subtle refinement, as though it was a new product. So, virtually every experimental change in the product found its way–via a flyer, catalog, or word-of-mouth into the hands of customers for day-to-day use.
In the very near future, this blog will introduce the first installment on the history of the Malven Hawk tool. It will discuss influences on the original development of the tool and separate discussion of each of its six generations of evolution. Later installments will also look at specialized variations along the way. Keep your eyes open, collectors– as noted above, many of these early prototypes found their way into the field and are still in use. If you find one, take an extra photo for us– send that, along with any background you might have, and we’ll post it here and send you a MalvenWorks shirt of your choice for your trouble.