Archive for October 19th, 2013

Skokie (Niles Centre) FD history

The Niles-Herald Spectator has an article (be aware of the self starting video with ads) about the restoration and return of the first hand pumper purchased by the Skokie Fire Department.

SKOKIE — When the town’s first fire engine was built, Abraham Lincoln was still alive; when it was last used to put out a fire, the Chicago Cubs had recently won a World Series. There was no Skokie then — only Niles Centre — which is clear by the gold lettering spelling out the town name on the small red pumper.

The story of the pumper and its restoration is directly the result of Skokie Fire Lt. Ron Smith and his passion for local history. About five years ago, Smith helped reacquire the very first fire engine — the Rumsey Pumper — used by Niles Centre when there was still a volunteer fire crew fighting blazes.

The engine pumped water in the big fire of 1910, which destroyed half of the business district in the village, west of Lincoln Avenue. Niles Centre needed help from other communities, which made leaders realize the pumper wasn’t sufficient for such a growing town. Niles Centre used the pump from 1881 to 1912 or 1913. The town got its first motorized pump in 1914 and sold the engine to Mount Prospect for $60.

Mount Prospect used it for a few years and then it ended up in the 1933 World’s Fair in an exhibit on the history of fire-fighting equipment, Smith said. The pumper was rediscovered and reacquired by Mount Prospect. Light restoration work was performed, but the pumper fell into disrepair and not much was done with it there.

The Rumsey Pumper was built in Seneca Falls, NY in 1865. In 1881, Niles Centre first bought the pumper when a bucket brigade proved ineffective in fighting larger blazes. It took 10 men to work the new engine — five on each side pumping 60 gallons of water a minute at its peak. The pumper weighs about 700 pounds.

There were two ways to operate it. One was to hook into a cistern, which all houses had on their properties at that time. Behind the fire house was the town’s largest cistern, which was also used. The other and more difficult way was to fill the engine with water and pump the water from tubs inside the pumper. A picture at the Skokie Heritage Museum shows the first volunteer fire department of Niles Centre with the first pumper behind the men.

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New tanker for Long Grove (update)

Martin Nowak spotted Long Grove’s completed tanker on the Alexis web site

Here are pictures from Alexis. New Tanker 55 for Long Grove. The Chassis is a International Durastar.

new tanker for the Long Grove Fire Protection District

Alexis photo

new tanker for the Long Grove Fire Protection District

Alexis photo

new tanker for the Long Grove Fire Protection District

Alexis photo

Previous production photos are HERE.

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Cary FPD orders new squad


Cary Fire has placed an order for a new squad.  The new squad will be a SVI body on a Sutphen Ambassador chassis.  Included are preliminary drawings for the new squad.  The drawings state the chassis is a Sutphen Monarch but that was changed to the Ambassador chassis.  If all goes well the new squad should be here in late summer or early fall 2014.  The new unit will replace our current Squad 255 which is a 1991 Alexis Body on a L8000 Ford chassis.  As I get updates I will send them to you.

Michael D. Douglass

Lieutenant / Public Education and Information Officer

Cary Fire Protection District

new squad drawings for Cary Fire Protection District new squad drawings for Cary Fire Protection District

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