Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sisters of Engine 17

Thanks to the community at, I have been able to secure photos of two of Engine 17's identical Tacoma sisters, and can finally share closer detailed examples of what she looked like before being painted white over lime green. However, in both cases, the pictures were taken late, so the period touches such as hand-lettered numbers and doors are long gone.

First we have a unit placarded as Engine 7, but if you look at the lower rear compartment you can see where the large decal "16" was either painted over or removed. Engine 7, as I recall, had one of the sisters at the same time Engine 16 did, and they were both replaced close together, in 1989, I think. If I had to guess, extending myself way into conjectureland, this photo is from around 1990, after both rigs had been replaced, and for whatever reason the new E7 was out for maintenance and old E16 was filling in as a reserve rig. There is evidence of body or paint damage, as the AO's compartment and left rear fender are a darker shade of red, as is the nose between the skirt and windshield. This pic does show, however, the Stang cannon and alternating red lights above the windshield that have disappeared from Engine 17. No idea where this rig is today, or if she still exists.

Photo Credit: "Big Dave"

Second is another of the sisters, but I have no idea which one she ever was. The owner of this photo indicated that the picture was taken around 2000, in Seattle. So, ten years ago, one of the sisters was accounted for there. What caught my eye quickly was that the hand-painted yellow trim lines are still on the rear compartment doors, when as far as I knew they had been removed from all the rigs when decals went into vogue. The Stang cannon is gone, the crosslays are empty, the Q2B is gone and replaced with something else. The silver paint over the rear wheel is not original, and the front bumper is pushed up slightly. The pump panel, however, has been "over-restored" with a sheet metal backing that is not original, and as far as I know was never done on one of these sisters while in Tacoma. I wish I knew the disposition of this engine.

Photos Credit: "Brian Birmingham"

Last up is an unrelated treat that also came up at FirePics. This is the 1976 American LaFrance Century Telesqurt that replaced my Engine 17 in 1976, and is the 17 that I remember from my childhood. Since this engine was #17 and bought in 1976 ("17, 76"), she was given distinctive bicentennial markings that included the blue stars on the roof and Squrt, and a "17" on the back of the Squrt circled with blue stars. I love the blue-painted electronic siren on the roof, I had forgotten that touch, and I had also forgotten (or never noticed before) that this engine also had yellow trim lines on her compartment doors like the 1970 batch. If you recall my interpretation of Station 17 history earlier in the blog, you'll remember that Truck 5 was supposed to have been started up there, but never happened. In 1976, this engine, along with Engine 11 (the other side of south Tacoma), were given Telesqurts, and I can only surmise that this was a compromise for never getting Truck 5 in service. No idea where this rig went after her Tacoma service.

Photo Credit: "Big Dave"

With the arrival of the new 17, my Engine 17 was reassigned for the first time, and would respond as Engine 9 for the next four years until being replaced by a Mack CF (one of Tacoma's first lime-yellow apparatus), and then would move to Station 10 for the next seven years to wrap up her Tacoma front-line career.

Bits and pieces...... bits and pieces.


  1. My first engine at my current department was a '77 century series. As a firefighter, I always liked it, the widening of the cab at the jump seat gave us more room. The engineer liked it as the pump panel was laid out in a very neat and orderly fashion. It was well built and was in front line status until 1984 when it was replaced by an E-1 Hurricane. (back when E-1 was kinda new and still built a decent rig)

    It was in reserve status for another 12 years or so. We also had a 70-something ALF Pioneer engine that was built fairly well, but as it had a 6V71 engine, it was under powered and was a "bargain basement" ALF in it's day.

    The '77 ALF is probably still in service down in Mexico somewhere, they don't em' build like that anymore.

    Thanks for the post.

  2. Wow, Bro! That was kind of like seeing long lost friends! Congratulations on finding a few pics.

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