Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dear old Engine 8 found

The entire tale of this blog starts with me growing up by Tacoma Station #8, and the special place in my heart for the 1970 American LaFrance 900 assigned there during my childhood.  The direct result of that, as well as other serendipitous events, was my coming into possession of Engine 17, one of the identical siblings of dear old Engine 8.

Engine 8 as I knew her was Tacoma Fire Shop #43, and she started her career in 1970 as Engine 5 at Station #5 in the Hilltop neighborhood.

Shop #43's first assignment at Hilltop Station #5
Photo: Richard Schneider via Thorsten Umbach


Just a few years later, Fire Station #4 near where the Tacoma Dome is today was permanently closed, and Fire Station #5 was renamed as #4.  Engine 4 kept its number and moved to the Hilltop station, and Shop #43 was reassigned to Fire Station #8.  Here is the only picture I have of Shop #43 at Station #8, and below is a much later picture of Station #8 as she appears today in retirement (a new Station #8 opened in 2003).

Shop #43 at Station #8 with my niece, circa ~1984
Photo: Mine


Historic Station #8 today
Photo: www.tacomadailyindex.com
Shop #43 was replaced in 1987 and moved to reserve status.  I would see her occasionally around town even when she was placarded with a different unit number, because no one ever painted over the large "8" on the rear center compartment door.  But it didn't last long.  Seems that all of the E17 sisters were sold off and gone from Tacoma by 1990 or so.

Where Shop #43 went after Tacoma sold her I don't know.  She may have gone on to serve another agency like Engine 17 did.  At this point all I know for sure is that at some point the sandwich shop Firehouse Subs obtained Shop #43 and repainted her to their signature Dalmation scheme for work down in Florida.  I have no idea how she got to Florida, if she was already there when they bought her, or they transported her there from somewhere else.  I got this picture from company reps back in 2010 - but at that point I did not know it was #43, I only knew that their rig was one of the E17 sisters.

Shop #43 as a marketing tool for Firehouse Subs, circa 2010
Photo: Mike Kelly, Firehouse Subs
This week I reached out to the SPAAMFAA community on Facebook to try to track down any of the other remaining E17 sisters.  The only other hint I have for any of them is one that was photographed around 2000 in Seattle, which brings us up to accounting for three of the eight sisters.  And then I started trolling the Internet for anything new since the last time I looked years ago.  What I came up with was a batch of photos of the Firehouse Subs engine, one of which was a clear shot of the rear compartments, .... and there in plain sight was my answer to which one she was.

Shop #43 looking pretty rough, January of 2013
Photo: Flickr user VinceFL
There she is, dear old Engine 8.  Now we know where she went.

Have to admit, the deterioration in condition from 2010 to 2013 is significant: Peeling red stripes, quite a bit of rust, flat tire (!).... kind of hard to look at.  Here are some more pictures from 'VinceFL' with some finishing effects applied to the images.



Yesterday I sent an email to the contacts I made with Firehouse Subs back in 2010 to see if they still have Shop #43, and if so how she is doing and where she is.  Not sure what I think I want to do with that info if she is still around.  She would be a much bigger project now than in 2010, and I haven't been able to make any realistic headway on the fire engine I already have!  But it would be nice to know.  Fingers crossed that she still has a future and isn't already gone.  Will post more when I know.

8 comments:

  1. Have you been to Engine House #9 lately? It's turned into a very good brewery and is definitely worth visiting, their barrel aged nectar berry saison is the first beer my girlfriend has liked.

    ReplyDelete
  2. While in Orlando, I stopped by Firehouse Subs to update my January 2013 photos of Engine 8. The truck wasn't there.
    01-18-2016
    Vince

    ReplyDelete
  3. While in Orlando, I stopped by Firehouse Subs to update my January 2013 photos of Engine 8. The truck wasn't there.
    01-18-2016
    Vince

    ReplyDelete