The following is the first of a 3-part series from Dave Weaver, organizer of the Chicagoland Emergency Vehicle Show  www.EmergencyVehicleShow.com

Chicago Fire Department Engine 17 on the set of the movie Backdraft

Chicago Fire Department Engine 17 on the set of the movie Backdraft. (X-Engine 69).

Engine 17 from the movie ‘Backdraft’ is for sale. A private collector in Minnesota has decided to let his project go for $6,000 with the condition that it receives a Chicago homecoming in the hands of the individual or group that is most capable of completing the restoration, and willing to make the rig available for parades and shows such as the Chicago Fire Academy Muster and the Chicagoland Emergency Vehicle Show. As of 9/19, there are several potential buyers who have offered to take on the project, but nothing is finalized yet.
 During the course of researching the history of this rig I have put together some notes…
Chicago purchased seven, 1970 Ward LaFrance engines on the P80 Ambassador chassis. These carried WLF VIN#s 80-287 to 80-293. They were shipped from Elmira Heights, NY on 6/30/70, and arrived at the CFD shops on 7/2/70 to begin prepping for assignment.
1970 Ward LaFrance Ambassador pumper assigned to Chicago Fire Department Engine 8

Steve Redick photo

 The engine with VIN# 80-289 was given CFD shop #D-374. It was originally marked as Engine 103 and delivered for service on 12/8/70, but the doorway was too narrow for the massive engine to pass through it without folding back the mirrors. It was reassigned to Engine 8 the next day at 212 W. Cermak Rd. in Chinatown, where it served until 1982.  It went to the CFD Shops for rehabbing from 9/2/80 until Feb 1981. In 1982, D-374 became a Shop’s spare.
 In 1989, the CFD sent the first set of 1970 WLFs to be rehabbed. They were sent to Able Fire Equipment Co., an Emergency-One dealer, in Frankfort. (Able later became Mid-America Truck in Elmhurst) The front of the engines received a Ranger cab manufactured in Rhode Island (now out of business). The back half was a classic E-ONE job.
Chicago Fire Department Engine 69

CFD Engine 69 after the rehab in 1995.