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Why everyone should own a Fire Engine


Brass is Best
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A while back I bought a 1953 GMC Fire Engine. Why you ask? Why not I say. So one of the first nice days after buying the truck. I call my friend who has 2 young boys 5 and 3 at the time. I ask if he and the boys are home and they are. I tell my friend not to tell the boys, but that I am coming over with a fire engine. He agrees to take the boys out in the yard to wait. I come down their street lights and sirens and pull into the driveway. The oldest boy is so excited he can't speak. He is just jumping up and down and screaming. His little brother is the same way. After a few moments the older boy looks at me and says. "Why did I not know you had a fire truck?" I told him I just bought it. He thought for a second and said "Well I should have known sooner." The 2 boys climbed all over the truck for about the next hour and tried every button and switch. Then they went for a ride around the block, only after getting their plastic fire helmets from in the house. A few days later the Older boy went to school and for show and tell took a toy fire engine. He proceeded to tell his class all about the fire engine his friend had brought over for him to play with. When his Mother picked him up from school the teacher told her about his great imagination. How he made up a story about his friend having a real fire truck. His Mother laughed and told the teacher his friend dose have a fire truck. His friend is 40 years old and then she pulled out her phone and showed the teacher pictures. This is why everyone should own a fire engine.

53gmc66.jpg

Edited by Brass is Best
Called an engine a truck. (see edit history)
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Great story. What amazes me about old fire trucks is that they seem to be well maintained and cheap. Is there a vintage vehicle that has a better cost-per-pound ratio?

 

This one is a lot newer, but that's a lot of shinny paint and chrome for $7,900

 

https://indianapolis.craigslist.org/cto/d/indianapolis-fire-truck-1994-pierce/7064548661.html

 

Edited by Car-Nicopia (see edit history)
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Brass, did your truck come with all of the hoses and accessories that are on it?

Most times all of that stuff is stripped off before they are sold and the trucks don't look complete without them.

 

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story.

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Brass, you struck a nerve with me. Your vehicle is not a fire truck, it's a fire engine. I served for 25 years in an engine company. A fire truck is manned by a ladder company. Engine men work the hoses and "truckies" from a ladder company, or truck company, ventilate and do search and rescue. Nice fire engine!

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2 hours ago, capngrog said:

BiB,

 

I enjoyed your story very much.  Thanks. 

 

How old are the boys now, and are they still interested in the fire truck?

 

Cheers,

Grog

 

The boys are 6 and 4 now. They ask me about the Fire Engine or Truck as they call it about every time I see them.

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2 hours ago, zepher said:

Brass, did your truck come with all of the hoses and accessories that are on it?

Most times all of that stuff is stripped off before they are sold and the trucks don't look complete without them.

 

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story.

 

This Engine was in service with a small town here in Ohio. from what I was told it was in service a long time. So when it was sold the equipment was outdated so it was left on the truck. Making it a time capsule. 

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 A friend told me about this truck and that I just had to buy it.

 I resisted for about a week and then went to look at it.

 I said,  "Why not?" 

 Look how close it came to the crusher.

 I finally found a use for it, a car carrier and tow truck.

DSCN0817.JPG

IMG_0404.JPG

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37 minutes ago, 46 woodie said:

Brass, you struck a nerve with me. Your vehicle is not a fire truck, it's a fire engine. I served for 25 years in an engine company. A fire truck is manned by a ladder company. Engine men work the hoses and "truckies" from a ladder company, or truck company, ventilate and do search and rescue. Nice fire engine!

 

Sorry, and I know better. I guess I called the Engine a Truck in the story because the boys do. Thanks for your service. 

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I just picked this up a couple of weeks ago in Pennsylvania. My nephew and his son went with my wife and me to drive it back home. It’s about 550 miles one way. He road in the back all the way and didn’t complain one bit. He really enjoyed it. The only problem was an antifreeze leak that we had to fix. It was a town truck and only ran 58 mpg and got about 5 mile per gallon. 

A2111FED-53CC-4037-91F8-6B8B30A9EF18.jpeg

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Mike  is that  Sutphen fire truck?  They were the first to have the extending bridge construction for the tower. My father in law sold them when he retired from the fire department. He outsold the factory production line and they made him stop selling for two years. 
Dave S 

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Glad you made their day and put a smile on those young fellows. A friend of mine just lost his house to a fire. Kicker is he had a fire truck sitting close by but had not maintained it. Photo of it in the foreground. Look here.  https://www.hudsonvalley360.com/news/greenecounty/fire-destroys-freehold-home-property/article_65661e50-6978-52a7-8d7c-28e436fe6f29.html

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I bought a 1931 Chevy fire engine from the village of Wardsville Ontario by sealed tender in 1977. It had 4531 miles on it and had been purchased new. It was almost completely equipped and came with some great stories. For instance,it was once called to a major fire in a neighboring town. The hard suction hoses were  not compatible with the fire hydrant,so a washtub was borrowed from a house nearby.The tub received the hydrant's water, which the hard suction hose pumped out of for eight hours straight.We did a frame off restoration,after which it received about 24 trophies,including winning it's class at the SPAAMFAA muster at Greenfield Village in Dearborn twice. It now resides at a museum in Rotterdam ,Holland.

72_firetruck.jpg

1931 Chevy fire engine pumping from washtub 1964.jpg

Edited by J.H.Boland (see edit history)
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While I do not own a fire truck (or engine), I did recently find myself on the board of a firehouse museum which afforded my daughter a ride in the Christmas parade in a 1936 Ahrens Fox that ran out of the firehouse long before it was a museum. 

F52F0A88-7F2C-4D34-B8E7-445D3282E48C.jpeg

1D846FAF-E7DC-4877-A1C8-1475EDE23AF5.jpeg

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They have the Frankenmuth Fire Muster in Frankenmuth, MI. I stumbled upon this show by accident one year while I was in town and it is a hoot! They some of the trucks by the river pulling water and pumping it, others are on display around the field. I'd never seen so many in one place. Probably the most fun antique vehicle show I've been too... there's that kid in all of us! 

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Old Ford's 1 Ton based on a Model A Ford Truck really is a beautiful Fire Engine. Those are one ton wire wheels which utilize a 32X6 tire on a 20 inch rim. These were only used in the first three months of production on the one ton chassis. A lot of the stuff is basically considered AR. The truck lives about 3 miles from me and it has a very good home and sure is fun to see from time to time. Dandy Dave!  

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2 hours ago, Big Beat said:

I only have one question.... if you show up at a car show in a big ass fire truck, do you still need to have a little fire extinguisher on display with it?

 

Only if the big copper/brass ones are for show only !.

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  • 4 weeks later...

For those of you who still love the childlike feeling of seeing or riding a fire engine you might want to consider joining SPAAMFAA - the Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America.  Dues are $30 per year and they include a newsletter and quarterly magazine.  Take a look at the web site (soon to be receiving a major overhaul) and sign up!  http://SPAAMFAA.org There is also a calendar with listings of musters (a gathering of fire engines) and other firefighting related events.

 

Brass is Best - I really enjoyed the story that you used to begin this topic.  There is nothing like riding on a piece of fire apparatus.

 

I've never owned a fire engine, but I have 60 - 70k pictures of them so I'll throw one into this topic.

 

Ex-Bucyrus OH
1928 Seagrave
750 GPM - 200 Tank
#57450   Model: 6-D-W-T

Bucyrus OH - 1928 Seagrave.jpg

Edited by Steve Hagy
URL was incorrect. (see edit history)
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Fire Truck guys are a great bunch of people.........salt of the earth.......and crazy as hell. Never had so much fun at ANY show as a Spaamfaa meet............food, booze, and insanity. Everyone should attend once, just for the experience. 

 

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44 minutes ago, edinmass said:

Fire Truck guys are a great bunch of people.........salt of the earth.......and crazy as hell.

 

 

I have cousin in Las Vegas that's a fire truck guy.  Sounds just like him.  He bought one on eBay once, sight unseen, flew halfway across the county with plans to drive it home.  He did.  Said he got 4 mpgs and had to spend a night in Colorado with a flat waiting on someone who could actually change it.  Spent as much on the flat as he did the whole thing.  At one time he rented it out for kids birthday parties and such.  He's had a few different ones.

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Our Fire Engine was the 1951 Ford F-6,

Built by The Boardman Company in Ohio for the Monsanto Chemical Plant across the highway from my daughter's subdivision in Luling, Louisiana.

It carried 500 gallons of water, could hook to a hydrant, or could draft from a bayou or pond from either the right, or the left side, and could pump 500 gallons per minute at 250 psi, or 250 gallons per minute at 500 psi. The big Federal Siren mounted on the front bumper didn't have a brake, and would drone on for what seemed an eternity. The roof siren was the same, but with a higher pitch, and the huge chrome bell let folks know she was headed their way. She was equipped with a 2-speed differential, as well as a "Granny Extra Low" gear, so walking alongsside her during parades was a hoot - watching a Fire Engine with "No Driver" and a Dalmatian in the driver's seat, as I held a fake remote control.

 

The ENGINE served Monsanto from 1951 until 1966 when it was donated to the St. Rose, Louisiana Volunteer Fire Department.

In 1978, St. Rose needed a larger unit and donated the '51 Engine to the Bayou Gauche Volunteer Fire Department, also in St Charles Parish, as is the Monsanto plant, so the Engine served its entire working life in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana.

It served the Bayou Gauche community until I bought it in 1988. Still certified, I used the ENGINE, properly equipped,

for the NEW ORLEANS FIRE DEPARTMENT's 100th Anniversary Muster,

as well as Touring with the Louisiana Region AACA.

 

When our local club hosted the Annual Louisiana Tour, our '51 ENGINE was a big part of the tour.

She proudly flew the big American Flag.

We iced down the hose bed and carried all the food and beverages to the lunch stop at the Carillon Park outside of Morgan City.

A bit of rain got some of the tour cars messy, and upon their return to the host hotel,

THE HIGH PRESSURE FOG unit built onto the engine's tailboard was a delight to many of the owners who appreciated our impromptu "Car Wash".

It did have a stiff ride after the car washing incident used up nearly all of the 500 gallons carried on-board. Without the extra weight of the 500 gallons of water, the ride home  became too firm for my wife. She bailed out on me and got into the back seat of another member's 1954 Ford Club Coupe. After only a few miles cramped up in that little seat, she was back, riding proudly in the Fire Engine, but warning me that the extremely bumpy ride might leave her with two black eyes.

 

Whenever I started that old 1951 Flathead, two of our Dalmatians, Gypsy and Dottie, dashed out of the house and were ready for Parade Duty on "THEIR ENGINE" !

We also hosted tons of neighborhood kids riding our engine for dozens of parades for Mardi Gras, French Quarter Festival, Cruise Nights, club picnics, and many other activities.

 

We passed the ENGINE to a group of brothers and sisters who owned and operated Edie's restaurant at the intersection of Pinhook Road and Kaliste Saloom in Lafayette, Louisiana. The placed was named for the youngest sister - Edie.

 

Thanks for a great memory.

Edited by Marty Roth (see edit history)
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Here is a hint on how to enjoy a firetruck show.......go on ebay, and buy T shirts........one with each major firetruck brand...........get six or seven different ones..........Mack, Seagrave, American LaFrance, ect then place them in a bag and go to the meet. Find the truck with the biggest and best party going...........they convert many of them with a grill, keg draft system, music, ect............when you see the one with the best party going, place that truck's brand shirt on and just walk up and join the fun.......they don't ask for ID........they just hand you a drink and say help yourself! When I spent a few hours at the last meet, they let me drive the back position on the 85 foot ladder truck........it was fantastic fun, and I was reasonably sober!

 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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On our way back from one of our first musters near Hamilton,Ont.,we were driving on a four lane highway when a big Cadillac Eldorado pulled up along side us and rolled down his window. Talking to another driver at 55 MPH wasn't working so we pulled into a parking lot. The guy was asking us all kinds of questions about the '31 Bickle-Chevy. Turns out he was Bill King,president of King-Seagrave Fire Engines in Woodstock. I told him I had heard that somewhere there was a big oak box of old factory photos of Bickle apparatus (later Bickle-Seagrave,then King-Seagrave). He told me that he still had it at his home and invited us to come see him.We arrived at his beautiful pillared home and were ushered up the spiral staircase to the master bedroom ,where the box was stored in a closet. On a second visit,we set up a camera and two tripods and photographed the pictures. The pictures range from the 'teens to the '50's. I still have them in an album.Attached is a 1918 Bickle-Chevrolet Model T that went to Campbellford,Ontario, and another Chevy that was purchased by the Sudbury,Ontario fire department.

1918 Bickle- Chevrolet Model T fire engine.jpg

1918 Bickle-Chevrolet Model T hook and ladder truck.jpg

Edited by J.H.Boland (see edit history)
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Marty Roth, that’s what it is all about to me. Saving a little bit of history for the younger people to enjoy. I enjoy history anyway so saving an old fire truck is just part of it to me. Everyone that owns an old vehicle is doing that weather it’s all original or restored. For me, I enjoy see the smiles it brings to the people of all ages that see my fire trucks. I’ve seen it from the neighbors kid, maybe 5ish to my father in law that’s 80+. Everyone seems to like fire trucks. Mike

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