The Historic Fire Trucks
The Pueblo FireFighters Historical Society was formed to buy and restore the first motorized Pueblo fire truck, the 1911 American LaFrance Chemical Wagon in 1996. Since that time, the society has purchased or acquired several other historic Pueblo fire trucks. Below are pictures of them now and in there heyday.
1911 American LaFrance Chemical Wagon
This Type 5 Chemical Wagon was the first motorized fire apparatus of the Pueblo Fire Department (though the chief had a Ford Model T in 1909). It was purchased by the department on June 26, 1911. It has a four-cylinder L-Head engine in it, and was refitted several years later with a 300 G.P.M. rotary gear pump.
The 1911 is under current restoration. It was stipped to the frame and is being meticulously restored, with the engine and pump having already been completely rebuilt. Tragically, fellow Pueblo Firefighter Captain Rick Mark, who was single-handedly restoring the 1911, died of a heart-attack in June of 2009. He will be missed in many ways.
This picture (above) of the 1911 was used in an advertisement for the American LaFrance Co. in Fire Engineering magazine in 1928. It boasted in the ad that old No. 39 had cost less than $100 to maintain through its 17 year career. (Below) The 1911 as it looked when the firefighters bought it in 1996, creating the Pueblo FireFighters Historical Society.
This is what the 1911 looks like today. It was stripped to the frame and painted, the transmission, pump, brakes, and engine have been entirely rebuilt. The PFHS has $10,000 that was donated by the Pueblo Biker's United to finish restoring this truck, and hope to have it completed by 2015.
1928 American LaFrance Aerial/Ladder Truck
This truck was purchased new by the Pueblo Fire Dept. in 1928. It has a 75-foot ariel ladder, that is cranked by hand (with the help of springs), a tiller-steering rear wheel system, and full compliment of ground ladders. It was sold and eventually bought back by the historical society a few years ago from a tree trimming service in Salida, Colorado. It has been featured in several parades, and is a thrill to drive.
Here is the 1928 at a recent museum open house, as it is today.
(Above) The 1928 in the 1950's in front of Fire Station 2 at 106 E. 7th St.
-Above left- A picture of the 1928 manuevering behind City Hall, with the old river channel in the background (what is now the HARP - Historic Arkansas Riverwalk). -Above right- A close up of the cab of the '28 when the trucks were painted white in the mid 1930's. The scroll work was done by then Capt. Ed Coglazier, who would be the fire chief from 1952-1958.
1937 American LaFrance Quad Truck
Nicknamed "Big Bertha" by the firemen, the truck was classified as a quad truck, for having a water tank, 1,000 G.P.M. pump, hose, and the same compliment of groung ladders as a truck company. It served as a front-line apparatus until 1962.
Pictured outside the Congress Hotel, "Big Bertha" with Pueblo firemen (from left to right) Sam Spinuzzi, Rd Langosh, Dan Gray, Vito LaTronica, and Frank Grahek. This picture was taken in the 1950's. Note the open cab design.
"Big Bertha" outside of Fire Station 2 on 7th St. in 1952. The pueblo firemen are (from front to back) George Rossi, George Downs, Frank Ragulsky, Dominic Libarato, and John Tavarozzi.
1953 Seagrave's Aerial/Ladder Truck
This 85-foot aerial ladder truck has a mid-ship mounted aerial ladder, and replaced the 1928 as Truck 1. The truck is powered by a Mack Thermodyne diesel engine. It was finally retired from service in 1981. This truck is always in the parades, and has won several awards for best antique vehicles. It has won in the Parade of Lights three years running now. It is also used by the Pueblo FireFighters Honor Guard in funeral processions, a great honor to the truck and to the firefighters past.
The 1953 Ladder truck when it was Truck 4, out in front of Fire Station 4 at 1201 E. Evans Ave. in Bessemer. The photo was taken in the late 1970's.
(Above) The 1953 at the State Fairgrounds in the 1970's, when it was still in service. (Below left) In the 2012 State Fair Parade and (right) in the 2013 Parade of Lights.
1960 Seagrave's Pumper/Engine
This pumper truck served the department for nearly 20 years as a front-line pumper. It is powered by a 906 cubic inch, 12 cylinder engine. This truck has been in numerous parades lately, and served as a hearse for many of the retired firefighter's funerals, in conjuncture with the Pueblo Firefighters Honor Guard.
This picture above was taken in the late 1970's when the 1960 was still the front line Engine 3. Below was the 1960 in Fire Station 3 (where the current Hose. Co. No. 3 - Fire Museum is located,) at 116 Broadway Ave.
1958 & 1962 Darley Pumpers
These two pumpers are recent additions to the PFHS collection. The 1962 has been used in parades, and even won an award last year at a car show.
(Above) The 1962 Darley in the 2012 State Fair Parade, and (below) the 1958 in an advertisement for the Darley Co.
1970 Pierce Snorkel Aerial Truck
The Snorkle truck served as the 2nd truck unit running out of Fire Station 4 in the 1970's. When the eliminated the 2nd truck company in town, the Snorkel served as the reserve truck and was brought in at all the large fires. It was taken out of service in 2010 when it could no longer be tested due to its age. This is the PFHS's most recent acquisition.
The Snorkle truck in the late 1970's in front of Fire Station 1 at 425 W. 7th St.
The Snorkel truck (top of photo), the 1953 Seagrave's Aerial truck, and the 1982 Ward LaFrance ladder truck in 1983.
1920's Ford Model-T Chief's Car
This Model-T was built by Hose Co. No. 3 - Fire Museum founder George Gussenbaur out of several Model T's. It was never a car of the Pueblo Fire Dept., but it is a nice car. It was purchased for the Pueblo FireFighters Historical Society by local businessman (and former NHL player) Dave Feamster and his Little Ceasar's Pizza. Dave has been a contributor on the purchase of several historical society vehicles, and we are deeply endebted to Dave Feamster for his support of the historical society.
The above picture was taken at the Firefighters Banquet at the Pueblo Union Depot. This picture was taken before the "Ghost Driver" incident.