Five Star Fire, a division of Freightliner of Hartford, was established in 1996. The main focus of the company began with new fire truck sales. Originally doing business as American LaFrance of Southern New England, the company was one of the largest and oldest distributors of American LaFrance Fire Apparatus, when Freightliner Trucks acquired the ALF product in 1996. In 2007 ALF filed for bankruptcy leaving the company without a stable product to represent. It was for this reason that new, more stable fire apparatus product lines would be sought out to represent. A decision was made to move forward and the first order of business was to change the name of the company. In 2008 the name Five Star Fire was chosen by the employees to better reflect the diverse product offerings soon to be under its portfolio.
With the acquisition of the Sutphen line of fire apparatus in June of 2008, SVI Trucks in April 2010, and Unruh Fire in December of 2017, the name Five Star Fire now reflects the high standards and financial stability of not only the individual product offerings but also of the level of service the company strives to offer its customers. Five Stars is commonly thought of reflecting High Quality, Top of the Line, High Expectations in addition to also symbolizing the rank of a Fire Chief's position. All these elements were considered when renaming the company Five Star Fire.
Originally starting with one person in 1996, today Five Star Fire is comprised of 18 full and part time employees, many of whom are members of the fire service, serving in capacities from firefighter to officers/leadership positions.
The Service Department of Five Star Fire is led by a Service Manager, who has over 22 years of experience. There is also a dedicated Parts Manager, three (3) Parts Specialists, and a Service Advisor in addition to seven (7) full time Service Technicians, all of whom have certifications as Emergency Vehicle Technicians (EVT), successfully completing Level 1, Level 2 or Master Fire Apparatus Technician Status. Most also hold ASE certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence in areas such as Drive Train; Brakes; Electrical/Electronic Systems, Preventive Maintenance & Inspection; Suspension & Steering; Engine Repair and Automatic Transmission.
Additionally, many technicians also hold specialized certifications in areas such as: Maintenance of Aircraft Rescue & Firefighting Vehicles, Electrical Multiplexing Systems, Aerial/Platform Maintenance & Fire Pump Maintenance & Testing. Two fully equipped service vans offering routine fire apparatus maintenance/service done at the local fire station(s) as well as 24 hour / 7 days a week emergency road service has been a staple from the beginning. Following 16 years at a their first maintenance facility on the Freightliner of Hartford campus in East Hartford, a stand-alone, dedicated, ten (10) bay service facility was added in 2016 and is located in Hartford offering over 15,000 sq. ft. of service/repair space and 9,000 sq. ft. of inventory space, with additional retail and office space.
In 2011, Five Star Fire achieved "Tier 1" status with Sutphen Fire Apparatus, which signifies that the manufacturer allows any and all repairs to their products, including aerial ladders & platforms, to be conducted at the dealership.
Also in 2011, Five Star Fire became an Authorized Service Center for Spartan Motors line of Fire Chassis as well as Spartan Motorhome Chassis.
In 2012, on-hand stock of parts in the Service Department commonly used to repair emergency vehicles exceeded one million dollars.
In 2016, Five Star Fire became a dealer of Bridgestone/Flextral brand hydraulic hose lines. Providing both high and low pressure hydraulic and air lines/fittings up to 5,000-psi, with the ability to custom make hose up to 2” diameter, in house. There are additional plans to offer air conditioning lines in the near future.
In 2017, Five Star Fire partnered with Alliance Truck Parts/Freightliner in providing an “over the counter” truck parts retail operation, with a concentration on 2nd and 3rd truck owners/fleets.
The Equipment Division of Five Star Fire was added in 2007 out of a need for customers who were buying fire apparatus and wanted to easily obtain equipment to outfit there new trucks. Such products as Fire Hose, Nozzles, Monitors, Hand Lights, Forcible Entry Tools, Generators, Foam, Firefighters Gear, Helmets, Gloves, Boots were all added to the company's product offerings. The Division today employs knowledgeable employees with vast industry experience in equipment, some of whom are considered industry experts within certain product offerings.
The Apparatus Division of Five Star Fire is focused on sales of new fire apparatus in the states of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Sutphen Fire Apparatus, and SVI Trucks are all top manufacturers and recognized nationally as such. In 2017, Unruh Fire was added to the distribution network with their line of light and medium duty rescues, wildland/brush, and ARFF trucks. The Five Star Fire Sales Representatives in the Apparatus Division possess a combined industry knowledgeable that is in excess of 100 years of proven experience in the fire industry. Some of the largest fire departments in the New England region choose to purchase fire apparatus from Five Star Fire due to the knowledge of the individual representatives and the guidance they offer during the construction process.
Today, Five Star Fire has become a leading supplier of products and knowledge to the region's Fire, Police and EMS providers. Led by Patrick Martin as Sales/Marketing Manager, Mike Marcinko as Service Manager, and Geoff Guiggio as Parts Manager, the company is focused on providing the best possible products and service available to all segments of the Emergency Services Industry. 100% customer satisfaction is a goal of the company whether it's service, buying equipment or a new fire truck. The entire team strives to provide the most reliable knowledge and creditable information to their customers.