Posts Tagged Ward LaFrance P80 engine

Chicago Ward LaFrance/Ranger/EONE (part 3)


The following is the third of a 3-part series from Dave Weaver, organizer of the Chicagoland Emergency Vehicle Show

Details about the Engine 17 rig developments are being discussed on the Chicagoland Emergency Vehicle Show Facebook page. Interested potential buyers can send a private message to or to the comments section of this post.
Chicago Fire Department engine from the movie Backdraft

CFD Engine 69 with numbering for both Backdraft Engines 17 and 51. Tom McCarthy photo

Where they went…
  • 80-287/D-372 E126 – rehabbed to E122 – Crushed in Blue Island in 1994
  • 80-288/D-373 E73 – to E103 4/2/81 – (not rehabbed) – Crushed at Cicero Iron in 1984
  • 80-289/D-374 E8 – rehabbed to E17/51/69 – Sold to Erickson Trucks-n-Parts 8/28/96
  • 80-290/D-375 E106 – rehabbed to E113 – Sold to Erickson Trucks-n-Parts 9/4/96
  • 80-291/D-376 E22 – rehabbed to E46 – Sold to Erickson Trucks-n-Parts 9/9/96 (crushed)
  • 80-292/D-377 E113 – this rig then saw a lot of action as a Shop’s spare at T61, O’Hare, E34, E19, E109, and E72 – rehabbed to E14 – Sold to Erickson Trucks-n-Parts 8/29/96
  • 80-293/D-378 E49 – rehabbed to E34 – Sold to a private party – Sold to PA FD
Chicago FD engine used in the movie Backdraft

Engine 17 on 4-4-2004.

E17’s current condition…
  • The owner estimates that 75% of the rig is there with 20% of the parts needing to be purchased and 5% of the parts needing fabrication.
  • It has a complete Cummins NTF 365 Turbo-Diesel (365hp @ 2300 rpm).
  • It is missing an Allison HT70 6-speed overdrive transmission.
  • It is missing $1,100 worth of copper radiator cores – originally Mesabi radiator of MN
  • It has a Hale Q-2 2,000-GPM pump that is non-functional, but comes with a replacement PTO gear box, some pump valves and pump gauges stripped from E14 that can be rebuilt by SPAN gauges in WI with period correct backings for $30/ea. and a new pump gasket set from Hale.
  • It has a 500-gallon water tank and a 140-gallon foam tank that was added during the refurb.
  • It has a 50-gallon diesel tank.
  • It is 35′ long with a 178” wheelbase.
  • The original grille was stripped from the rig but replaced by a top-notch reproduction.
  • It has its’ original deck gun.
  • It needs diamond plate and steel work but comes with the refurb blueprints from E-ONE.
  • It has original Imron paint but could be repainted with a close matching 68-69 Dodge red.
  • It includes 500 feet of 5-inch LDH.
  • It includes functional lights, sirens, horns, and a period correct Motorola radio.
    Chicago FD engine from the movie Backdraft

    Engine 17 photographed 9-15-2012.

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Chicago Ward LaFrance/Ranger/EONE (part 2)


The following is the second of a 3-part series from Dave Weaver, organizer of the Chicagoland Emergency Vehicle Show

In 1990, X-Engine 8 (D-374) along with its sister rig X-Engine 106 (D-375), were part of the 2nd set of rigs sent to be rehabbed. They were the last two rigs to come back in June of 1990. D-374 and D-375 were both leased to the production company that created the movie Backdraft. D-374 was marked as Engine 17 from 7/90-2/91 and as Engine 51 from 10/90-2/91 (the rig whose hose bed saw “action” inside Engine 8’s house). During filming, the Engine 17 interior shots and the majority of the exterior shots were done using X-Engine 8. X-Engine 106 was also marked as Engine 17 during certain scenes. A way to tell the difference is that Engine 8’s interior had diamond plate and was painted gloss black, while Engine 106 had a flat black interior with no diamond plate. Another difference is that X-Engine 106’s siren speaker was mounted higher up in front of the windshield glass.
CFD engine from the movide Backdraft

The cab interior.

When filming was completed, D-374 was assigned to Engine 69 at 4017 N. Tripp Ave. Engine 69 was responsible for pumping out the basement of City Hall during the Great Flood of 1992.  It was part of Chicago’s short-lived super-pumper program, which carried four hard suction lines and 1000′ of 5″ LDH. Its’ 140-gallon foam tank was installed with expressway responses in mind. Engine 69 was taken out of service on 6/13/95. Engine 69’s transmission/PTO box was removed in order to keep Engine 34 in service after they blew out their gears while driving. On 8/28/96, Engine 69 was sold at auction and purchased by Erickson Trucks-n-Parts.  It was first shipped to their yard in Sturtevant, WI and it eventually arrived in their Jackson, MN bone yard in 1997. It was discovered there by its current owner in 1999. He eventually purchased it in 2003 and began its restoration.
CFD Engine from the movie Backdraft

Backdraft Engine 17 on the day it was purchased.

After filming, X-Engine 106 (D-375) was assigned to Engine 113. It also eventually was sold at auction to Erickson Trucks-n-Parts and made its way to the Jackson, MN bone yard to sit alongside Engine 69. Engine 113 is currently in the hands of a friend of Engine 69’s current owner, but it is in very rough shape and might possibly end up as a parts rig for the Engine 17 project. Engine 14 (X-E113) also ended up in Jackson, MN. It was completely stripped of salvageable parts, had its cab chopped off, and then shredded.
CFD engine from the movie Backdraft

December 20, 2003.

Engine 34 (X-Engine 49), which never saw time in Backdraft, was made into an Engine 17 clone before being sold in 1999 or 2000 to the East Norwegian Twp. PA FD where, until recently, it had been incorrectly touted as authentic. That rig was spotted for sale online stripped of it markings a couple of years ago and its current whereabouts are unknown.
CFD engine from the movie Backdraft.

Rear jump seat behind the officer.

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Chicago Ward LaFrance/Ranger/EONE (part 1)


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

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.

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CFD Swap Meet and Muster

The swap meet and fire muster was co-sponsored by the 5-11 Club and Fire Buffs of Illinois on Saturday, June 16th at the Quinn Fire Academy. Here are a few images from the event.

Chicago Fire Department Haz Mat Unit Hazardous Incident Team

Several CFD companies came by including 5-1-1. Larry Shapiro photo

antique Chicago Fire Department Battalion Chief Dodge Monaco

Radioman’s Dave Weaver brought his CFD Dodge Monaco for Division 7. Larry Shapiro photo

Chicago Fire Department MAB 8-8-12 Medical Ambulance Bus

The new CFD (8-8-12) was open and on display in the yard. Bill Friedrich photo

Ahrens Fox engine pumping water at a muster

An Ahrens Fox was pumping in the street. Carl Misek photo

Chicago Fire Department muster

Where there are fire trucks posed, there will be photographers snapping photos. Larry Shapiro photo

Chicago Fire Department Training Academy Crimson engine

The new engine for the training academy was positioned for photos. Larry Shapiro photo

Chicago Fire Department Training Academy Crimson engine

A view showing the rear of the new training academy engine. Larry Shapiro photo

Wadsworth Ohio Ward LaFrance Ambassador P80 engine belonging to Doug Reno

The Wadsworth Ohio Ward LaFrance Ambassador P80 engine belonging to Doug Reno (of Wadsworth, IL) was one of several on display. Larry Shapiro photo


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Fire engine and Steam Locomotive unite

From Scott Peterson:

Found this driving thru Hebron IL. Bought from a Skokie fireman by Doug Reno. It'll be at the Illinois Railway museum this weekend and the next two. It will fill a steam Engine. The piping on the driver's side was fabricated for a quick-fill method of the rig's tank while it is in Union to fill the steam engine The Leviathon. Rig is in really good shape! It carries WLF so 80-1129.

1975 Ward LaFrance Ambassador engine Wadsworth OH
1975 Ward LaFrance Ambassador engine Wadsworth OH
1975 Ward LaFrance Ambassador engine Wadsworth OH
1975 Ward LaFrance Ambassador engine Wadsworth OH
1975 Ward LaFrance Ambassador engine Wadsworth OH

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CFD Apparatus History – Ward LaFrance

To supplement our multi-part series on the Ward LaFrance apparatus used by the CFD, Bill Friedrich has submitted copies of the 1970 Ward LaFrance sell sheets/brochures featuring these units. Previous posts can be found HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Ward LaFrance 1970 brochure with Chicago engines

This Ward LaFrance brochure features a shot of all seven Ward LaFrance 2,000-GPM engines for Chicago in 1970. Bill Friedrich collection

Ward LaFrance 1970 brochure with Chicago engines

All sides of a 1970 Ward LaFrance 2,000-GPM engine for Chicago with complete specifications. Bill Friedrich collection

Ward LaFrance 1970 brochure with Chicago ladder trucks

Both sides of a 1970 Ward LaFrance/Grove 100' ladder truck. These had 300-gallon booster tanks, Hale 2CBP booster pumps, Grove 4S-100 ladders, and "many other items of special equipment.". Bill Friedrich collection

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The color of fire trucks (part 5)

Four fire departments in Lake County, MABAS Division 4, have had non-red fire apparatus over the years. To date, only the Fox Lake Fire Department and the Winthrop Harbor Fire Department maintain fleets that are not red, red & white, or red & black.

The fire department at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in North Chicago used to run apparatus that was either solid lime green or that later had a white roof. The military has since changed over to white over red … with the exception of some ARFF and other airport assigned units.

Great Lakes Naval Training Center Fire Department

The Great Lakes Fire Department used to run with this 1994 KME Renegade that was assigned to Engine 1911. It had a 1,250-GPM pump and carried 750 gallons of water. There were also two 50-gallon foam tanks on-board. The federal government purchased many of these units over a period of several years in the 1990s and deployed them at bases throughout the world. Several years ago, KME completed a contract to recondition most of these engines. Great Lakes currently has a 1997/2010 Renegade engine at their station 2. Larry Shapiro collection

When the Lake Zurich Rescue Squad and the Lake Zurich Fire Department were separate entities, the rescue squad ran ambulances and a small squad unit. When they purchased this unit in 1979, there was federal funding provided to help with the cost. One stipulation though was that the squad had to be painted white over lime green, which at the time was considered a matter of safety with regards to the visibility of the unit.

Lake Zurich Rescue Squad

Squad 955 with the Lake Zurich Rescue Squad was a small quick-response squad built by E-ONE in 1979 on a GMC K35 chassis. Larry Shapiro collection

The Greater Round Lake Fire Protection District purchased two Mack CF engines; one in 1968 and the other in 1975. Both were painted white.

Greater Round Lake Fire Protection District Mack CF engine

Round Lake Engine 638 was one of two CF Mack engines that they purchased. This was built in 1975 and had a 1,000-GPM pump with 500 gallons of water. Larry Shapiro collection

The Waukegan apparatus has always been red or red and white with a few exceptions. In 1979, they purchased a DOT spec’d small squad just like the one that was bought by the Lake Zurich Rescue Squad. Additionally, they purchased a 1969 Ward LaFrance Model P80 engine on an Ambassador chassis that was white over lime green which was typical of the Ward LaFrance units being shipped during that era. They went on to purchase three more units from Ward LaFrance in 1976 and  1977, all of which were white over red.

Waukegan Fire Department Ward LaFrance Ambassador engine

The first of five Ward LaFrance units that was purchased by the Waukegan Fire Department was this 1969 Model P80 Ambassador Series engine with a 1,250-GPM pump and 1,000-gallons of water. Larry Shapiro collection

Other posts in this series can be found by entering Color of fire trucks in the search field.


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The color of fire trucks (part 4)

The next installment in this series about Chicago area fire trucks looks into departments in MABAS Division 3 that over the years have changed over to red fire apparatus. Also highlighted is a department that was always red but at one time had an engine that was a different color.

Deerfield had two Ward LaFrance P80 series engines with the Ambassador cab. Engine 720 was delivered in 1973 with a 1,250-GPM pump and Engine 712 came in 1977. Engine 720 carried 750 gallons of water , Engine 712 carried 1,000 gallons, and both were painted white over lime green.

Deerfield-Bannockburn Fire Department 1977 Ward LaFrance Ambassador engine

Deerfield Engine 712 was a 1977 Ward LaFrance P80 with an Ambassador cab. It had a 1,500-GPM pump with 1,000 gallons of water. Larry Shapiro collection

The Glenbrook Fire Protection District (formerly the Glenview Rural Fire Protection District) merged with the Glenview Fire Department in 1992. The original Glenview Rural trucks were red, then sometime after the district name changed  the Glenbrook apparatus was transitioned to yellow. Subsequent purchases arrived yellow. The department had three American LaFrance Pioneer Series engines, one of which was a newer Pioneer II model. They also had a small squad and a 1968 Ford/Snorkel. The red 75-foot Snorkel was refurbished in 1986 and came back yellow from Pierce with a new four-door Arrow cab. Later they purchased a newer squad from Hackney and two Pierce Arrow engines.

Glenbrook Fire Protection District Engine 144 1976 American LaFrance Pioneer

Glenbrook Engine 144 was a 1976 Pioneer Series from American LaFrance with 750 gallons of water and a 1,250-GPM pump. Larry Shapiro collection

Glenview apparatus has always been red. In 1975, they purchased a pumper-squad from Seagrave with a 300-gallon water tank. Squad 8 came white over lime green. This unit was later repainted red but retained the white roof.

Glenview Fire Department 1975 Seagrave PB series pumper squad

Glenview had this one unit that was not painted red. Pumper-Squad 8 was a 1975 Seagrave P-Series with 300 gallons of water and a 1,500-GPM pump. Larry Shapiro collection

For many years, Northbrook painted their units yellow, having previously been red. They had three engines, a Sutphen tower ladder, two squad units, and utility vehicles that were yellow. They also had a matching yellow stripe on their modular ambulances. The apparatus changed to white over red in 1996 when they received two engines, a squad, and a ladder from Pierce.

Northbrook Fire Department Engine 58 1975 American LaFrance Pacemaker

Northbrook Engine 58 was a 1975 American LaFrance Pacemaker Series engine with 500 gallons of water and a 1,000-GPM pump. The Pacemaker was a conventional custom fire cab by TCM instead of an American LaFrance custom Century or Pioneer cab. Larry Shapiro collection

The Park Ridge Fire Department ran with white over lime green apparatus for many years. Including this conventional Pirsch engine, they had a Mack CF/Pirsch mid-mount ladder, a custom cab-over Pirsch engine, and two Seagrave WB Series low profile engines that were painted to match. They also had stripes on their modular ambulances that matched the apparatus. All but the mid-mount ladder were later repainted red.

Park Ridge 1958 conventional Pirsch fire engine

Park Ridge Engine 44 shown here at a fire scene, was a 1958 conventional cab Pirsch with 500 gallons of water and a 1,000-GPM pump. Steve Redick collection

To see the earlier posts in this series, enter the word color into the search field.

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