|R & R Fire Truck Repair, Inc.
Fire Apparatus Company
|Click on a picture below
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In 1955, Donald Smeal bought out a repair shop in Snyder, Nebraska, his home town, and
named his new business Smeal Implement Co. His plan was to earn a living doing welding repair
work while he experimented and searched for a product that he could build and sell. He was
looking for something that had a rather small market so he wouldn't be competing with bigger
manufacturers. His shop was a converted house located near the downtown business area. Don
had an interest in things mechanical since his boyhood on the family farm, where he operated
the big steam engine tractor that was used for saw milling. As the steam engine gave way to
diesel tractors, Don dreamed of working for the John Deere Company. After high school, Don
worked as a hired farm hand where his mechanical skills were very useful.
World War II loomed on the horizon and when Don got his induction notice, he asked his
sweetheart to marry him. Don and Ardath started their lives together as many young couples of
the day did, with an ocean between them. After the war, Don started a custom farming business
where he took his farm machinery from place to place to assist with planting and harvesting.
After several years, Don was offered a position as maintenance mechanic at a feed products
plant. He left that position when he purchased the repair shop and he began to put his plan into
Smeal Fire Apparatus Co.
In 1963, Snyder Rural Fire Board asked Don to fix a leak in its fire truck tank. The tank could not
be repaired so Don, being a volunteer firefighter himself and knowing the needs of the
community, offered another arrangement. If the Board would buy a new chassis, Don would
design and build a new fire truck that would have a portable and a PTO water pump, a 1200
gallon water tank, a body with an enclosed crew cab and a 42' hydraulic aerial ladder. This was
the first fire truck to have all these features on one truck. Actually, this was the forerunner of
today's quint, minus only the ground ladder storage.
Soon other communities were requesting that Don bid their firetrucks and thus began Smeal Fire
Apparatus Co. Today, Smeal Fire Apparatus Co. has 26 dealers throughout the United States and
Canada. It offers a full line of fire fighting apparatus including aerial ladder platforms at 85' and
100', aerial ladders at 55', 75', 105' and 125' as well as pumpers and tankers.
Smeal is a major competitor in the fire and rescue industry and has thousands of firetrucks and
aerial ladders protecting lives and property throughout North America. The Smeal companies are
family owned with five of Don and Ardath's children working in the businesses along with their
spouses and their children. Don did not stray from his roots and built his companies with folks
who have the same values and work ethic as his pioneer forbearers who settled the Nebraska
prairies. Donald died October 19, 2004. He left his companies in the hands of his family and his
long-term dedicated employees who share the same commitment to our customers. The Smeal
products that are in service across the continent and around the world are built with pride and
integrity in the heartland of America.