Thursday, 14 November 2013

History APB: Has anyone seen this fire truck ?!

Former Merrick FD Fire Truck

Back in 2007 I saw this former Merrick N.Y. 1960 LaFrance Fireband truck in a back lane off of Dufferin Avenue. Despite the rust, it looked as if it had only recently been taken out of service. It sat around in the lane for a month or so and then it was gone.

At the time I blogged about it to see if anyone knew the story behind it but I didn't get any replies. Since 2011, though, I have been contacted a few times about as, it turns out, the vehicle is a one-of-a-kind.

 Former Merrick FD Fire Truck

In 2011 I was contacted by a former chief and the historian of the Merrick Volunteer Fire Department, (Merrick is on Long Island, New York about 35 miles east of New York City). Merrick F. D. purchased the vehicle new in 1960 and it remained in service until 1997 when it was donated to another fire department in New York State. After that, they lost touch with it until they saw these photos, (you can see the whole album here).

He was interested in knowing how it ended up here and what became of it,so I blogged about it again but no response.

Former Merrick FD Fire Truck

Since then, the photo has made the rounds through various fire truck enthusiast networks and I was recently contacted by someone in the U.S. who says that there is great interest in this vehicle among collectors and museums. He explained: 

"Ward LaFrance had two models of Firebrand/Fireball, one that had a squared out nose and this model COE (cab over engine). They only built about 100 of the COE pumpers so they are kind of rare.... The one you photographed was the only quad version of this truck built. Quad meaning that it had a pump, carried more hose than a pumper, a full selection of ground ladders, and lots of service tools."

Former Merrick FD Fire Truck

So, what happened to this LaFrance ? Did it go back into service fighting forest fires or to a First Nations reserve ? Is it being used for training ? Did a collector restore it ? Is it rotting in a field somewhere ?

If you've seen this fire truck or know anything about it, let me know at cassidy -at- mts.net or in the contact box before and I will pass the information along !

Missing: One rare fire truck last seen in Winnipeg’s North End Metro (November 19, 2013)


Roger Strong said...

I took a couple pictures of it in May 2004. If anyone wants them I can email them and put them in the public domain.

At the time it was parked on a property around the corner and half a block west on Jarvis. It was there for at least a few months.

Roger Strong

Roger Strong said...

I looked up the address of the property it was on. It was 743 Jarvis Ave., occupied by Suresave Insulation.

mrchristian said...

Yes, directly behind the old Dominion Tanners warehouse is where I saw it and photographed it. I'll direct the guy looking for information to the blog post and comments section.

Thanks !

mrchristian said...

Thanks Roger !

It looks like it moved a couple of doors down then between the time you saw it and I saw it. (I saw the photos you took).

No word yet. it's gotta be out there, though !