Archive for Tuesday, August 12, 2014

100 years ago: Motorists warned: New ‘fire car’ will be much faster than horse-drawn engines

August 12, 2014


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for August 12, 1914:

  • "Fire Chief Reinisch will go to Kansas City Saturday to get the new fire car which has been under construction there especially for the Lawrence fire department. The car is built especially for speed and to get to fires before they have had time to advance. In making a long run the horses cannot stand a very great speed and often fires have a chance to get a good start before the department can get to them. The new car is not what would be called a fire truck but is a chief's car and is built to carry four firemen. There will be two large chemical tanks on the car that will service the purpose of putting out the fire in all ordinary circumstances. The car has been in the process of construction for about three months; it was built especially for Lawrence. Chief Reinisch will inspect the car and if it is built according to specifications will bring it out Saturday night.... The commissioners are now considering the purchase of a hose truck for the department so that they may dispense entirely with the service of horses. It is only a matter of finance with the commissioners for they well realize the need of a hose and ladder auto truck."
  • "With the new fire car it will be necessary for street traffic to be much more careful to avoid accident when the fire alarm is sounded for the car will make better time than the truck pulled by horses. In the new ordinance that was passed yesterday by the commissioners there is a clause providing that traffic on the streets stop until it is ascertained which way the truck is going and the truck shall have the right of way. In the past accidents have been narrowly escaped by the good driving of the firemen when careless drivers on the street did not get to the side of the street when the fire alarm sounded."
  • "The pump which has been hired to do the pumping at the test wells in North Lawrence to ascertain whether or not there is sufficient supply to furnish the city with water should a pumping station be placed there has been taken to the wells and will be set up today. The wells will be completed today and the direction of the underground flow found. It is possible that the pumping tests may commence this afternoon but possibly not until tomorrow morning."


Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 10 months ago

In 1917, or shortly after, the city of Lawrence acquired a 1917 American LaFrance fire truck, but it doesn't move very fast anymore.

For many years it was used as a piece of playground equipment in South Park, and many people have fond memories of it. It's now in storage, unfortunately it's outside. There was some talk of restoring it, but the cost was so very high - it seems that I remember an estimate was about $30,000. It appears that there would be very little of the original fire truck left when it was complete, it would be all new.

This is a relatively recent picture of it.

1917 American LaFrance fire truck

1917 American LaFrance fire truck by Ron Holzwarth

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