American LaFrance consolidating facilities to South Carolina

An engineering and manufacturing company that supplies equipment for fire fighters is closing two plants as a consolidation effort, but will be moving all operations to its Summerville headquarters.
American LaFrance is one of the leading manufacturers in the world for the fire, rescue and EMS industry. This week, the company announced the closing of its’ facilities in Hamburg, New York and Ephrata, Pennsylvania, leaving only the companies’ headquarters in Summerville open.  
American LaFrance spokesperson Richard Ball, says, “The main reason is most of our revenue is driven off of municipalities.  I mean when you think of firetrucks and garbage trucks mainly the cities buy that type of equipment.  With the economy in the certain state that it’s in right now, you’re seeing those municipal budget cut effects occur in 2009, but the budgets that are really being made for 2010 are being made right now,” says Ball.
Ball says they expect those 2010 cuts to be pretty significant and he predicts sales in the fire industry to be on a decline for the next two years. He says although it’s sad news for the employees that will be without work, some may be asked to relocate to Summerville, where new positions will open.
“The biggest thing new here that we have never built before will be the aerial products which are your ladders, your 100 foot ladders.  That’s why specialized workers, engineers will be needed at this location,” says Ball.
Ball says with this consolidation the Summerville facility will have to adapt to the changes, including new operations that the northern facilities conducted that will now be moved to Summerville.
“The operations we have in Summerville, they’re our most modern operations, they’re are newest facility, they meet more of our future goals with it being 30 miles away from one of the world’s largest ports on the east coast. So, a decision was made to consolidate the facilities here,” says Ball.
The two closings will be effective May 31st.  There is currently no word on how many employees will be laid off.