Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New blogs to follow

Just found the blog of fellow member and private fire engine owner Chuck, who picked up a beautiful 1972 Mack CF just before Christmas last year. You will now find his blog in the blogroll list to the right.

Nice to see I am not alone in the fire engine ownership blogosphere.

Check it out: Mack CF

Following that, I put in some time on some more concerted searching, and turned up three more related blogs.

This one is about a very unique 1965 Ford/Wesco pumper that was in service not far at all from where I live today, and which has returned to the Pacific Northwest from a sojourn to Alaska.

Check it out: Project Fire 32

Additional information on Fire 32 can also be found here.

Next I turned up another American LaFrance, a 1954 Type 700 canopy cab pumper owned by Batesville AR from the day it was new until it was sold at auction in 2001.

Check it out: CFD Engine 33

And after finding the CFD E33 story, I found it linked to yet another American LaFrance being restored, a 1941 Type 500 from Chesterton IN that is apparently good friends with CFD Engine 33.

Check it out: Chesterton Engine 1

Monday, March 29, 2010

Blast from the past

I've been in Tacoma for a few days, and even caught a structure fire with my sister, getting to help her out with the canteen unit. It was a very strange feeling for me, being right there after it was over, watching the guys drain and roll hose. You're not supposed to stand around when there's work to be done, and I repeatedly found myself absently going for a line to break couplings, drain, roll, collect SCBAs to clean up and refill, all that. No, not my agency, not dressed for it, but dang I sure felt bad standing around, kept waiting for someone to gripe about what the heck Frank is doing not helping, who does he think he is being lazy? Weird.

Anyway, today sister and I met this morning to try to catch Joe Stiles, who now works in Fire Prevention - whose offices are fittingly at the building which used to be the fire station where Engine 17 started out with Tacoma.

Luckily, Joe was there. I didn't tell him this when I was there, but I think I had about as much trouble recognizing him that he did with me. He figured out who I was because sister was right there, but he does not look nearly as old as I assumed he would. Joe said he was fixing to read this blog not even 15 minutes before we showed up unannounced, so he's undoubtedly going to read this: Dude, you have not aged a day... on the outside, anyway!

We actually caught a 2-for-1 out of it. Unknown to me, the also-legendary Brian Trunk is also there now, at the desk next to Joe's. What a trip on the wayback machine that was for me. And here we all are:

Sister, Me, Joe, Brian.

It was great to have a chance to meet them again after all this time, and apologize for being the goofball I was and all the trouble I caused. They were graceful and downplayed it, but I know there is more than one way to define "enthusiastic".

Sister also grabbed a shot of me standing where Engine 17 first responded from in 1970. But since this is office space now, only the apron ramp in front gives a clue that this used to be Station 17.

The flat nondescript wall gives little clue
that this used to be where E17 rolled out.

I made one more stop later that day, to try to catch Ben Baltazar at Station 6, where Joe said he worked. Wrong shift, missed him. But, just like at the fire the other night, it wasn't hard to find people who - even if they had never met me personally - still knew who I was. Two of the guys at 6's actually remembered me personally after all this time, and also gracefully excused my antics, but I was glad to be able to continue the Apology Tour 2010 even though it's been over 20 years. Amusingly, though, just as they might have seemed ready to accept me as normal, they found out I bought an old Tacoma pumper. So I'm back to being nuts, I guess. :)

So, those of you on TFD now or ever before, as you guys are being dragged in here with my apologies for the rambling tripe that passes for a blog when I'm not working on Engine 17.... this one's for you, too: Sorry, and thanks for keeping me alive despite my best efforts to get dead early. I've spent the last seventeen years since I got the badge, trying to make up for it. Maybe one day I'll feel the debt has been repaid. If not, tell me when you're working, and I'll arrange to drop by with apple pie and ice cream for your crew.

And one more friendly shout out on behalf of the crew at 6's: Tacoma, stop teasing and give them their new engine, already!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tacoma's Newest Engine 10

Tacoma Fire Department has invited all interested to attend the Housing Ceremony for the New Engine 10.

What: New Engine 10 Housing Cermony
When: Tuesday March 30, 2010, 09:00
Where: 7247 South Park Ave

The star of this blog, Engine 17, was Tacoma's Engine 10 at the time of her first retirement, in 1987. She was replaced by a lime-green 1987 Thibault pumper, which was (as far as I know) itself replaced at least once before 1996, when E10 then got the pumper that is being retired tomorrow (on the left below).

So Tacoma's new Engine 10 (on the right, above), will be (again, as far as I know) Tacoma's 4th E10 since the venerable American LaFrance was placed into reserve in 1987 and then sold in 1989.

The new pumper looks great!

If I had known about this event a little earlier, I would have tried to bring 17 for an appearance, but I doubt my work schedule would have allowed it anyway.

Hope all who can attend have a good time. Chances are excellent that the gig will be interrupted at least once, though, as 10's is a very busy house!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Other apparatus at the house

One of the other district units was up at Station 6 for a practice drill a few days ago, and the event highlighted the strange, warped perspective my young boys have adopted from living in a fire station.

Tender 4 (Tanker 4 for those not on the left coast) arrived, driving past the large living room windows, in clear view of where the 3-year-old and 6-year-old were playing Wii Fit. The big, shiny red truck passed right through their field of vision, just six feet outside the windows, and they didn't even bat an eye. Kept right on playing.

About twenty minutes later, a locksmith showed up for an appointment in his nondescript white van.

Both boys dropped what they were doing and came outside to see what the white van was all about.


Two little boys oblivious to a fire truck in their own driveway, but who get wound up when a plain white van pulls in?

Squad 6 in quarters, Tender 4 visiting,
and the exciting locksmith van.

That's just bizarre. I guess they've acclimated.

On a slightly unrelated note, I apologize, but this slipped my mind when I discussed the other fire truck at my house.

There is another vehicle owned by the fire district that lives at Station 6 where we live, but it only gets used seasonally, and even then gets virtually no public exposure whatsoever. It does have a warning light on it, and has unit ID markings. A strike against it is its nontraditional green color. One of the things I like about it is its throwback open cab configuration, but it has a hard time getting up to any kind of respectable speed, and is a seriously rough ride. Sadly, it has virtually no storage space, and is really only good for one specific function.

What do we call it?

Lawn Mower 6.

The rabbits and moles on the big lawn may or may not
appreciate being warned out the way, when
Lawn Mower 6 responds Code 2 to staff the Squad.