Ok, so here is my geeky admission; just like most boys, I have a secret fascination of fire engines.
Not just any old fire engines though. For me the best fire engines are to be found in New York City.
While it goes without saying that I admire all fire-fighters, I have a special respect for the FDNY. It faces an extraordinarily varied challenge. In addition to responding to building types that range from wood-frame single family homes to high-rise structures, there are the many bridges and tunnels, large parks and wooded areas that can give rise to major brush fires, and one of the largest subway systems in the world.
No wonder they have been given the motto “New York’s Bravest”
Despite been to NYC 3 times, I still never tire of the sights and sounds of the FDNY fire trucks battling to get through traffic, hurtling through intersections, lights blazing, sirens wailing, air horns blaring and flags flying.
It makes for an unforgettable noise experience when someone is driving a 27 tonnes engine at breakneck speed as Engine Company 16 and Ladder Company 7 demonstrate!
Below is a picture I took in 2005 of the Seagrave truck of FDNY Ladder Company 10, which together with FDNY Engine Company 10 is based at “The Ten House” at 124 Liberty St, Manhattan.
On September 11, 2001, the 1994 Seagrave 100 foot rear-mount aerial was destroyed. When Ladder Company 10 re-entered service on February 19, 2002, the rig was a second-hand 1989 Seagrave 100 foot rear mount. This was replaced on March 28, 2002, by the vehicle you see above.
This particular rear mount is the only one in the FDNY fleet, with the distinctive murals painted on its sides. The 23-foot illustrated mural, designed and donated by Seagrave employees, and similar to the 911 memorial flag-raising image, was applied to both sides of the body to depict a front view of the flag raising on the driver side, and the back view on the officer side.
The Ten House, located on Liberty Street directly across from where the World Trade Center stood, suffered significant damage and was virtually destroyed on September 11, 2001.
As the towers collapsed, tons of building debris fell onto the firehouse and forced its way into it, blowing out windows and doors and causing extensive damage. Inside the firehouse, the apparatus floor was flooded with over three feet of debris and in some areas in and around the firehouse the debris from the collapse was nearly six feet deep.
5 members from the Ten House were lost:
Lieutenant Gregg Atlas, Fire-fighter Jeffrey Olsen, Fire-fighter Paul Pansini from Engine 10; Lieutenant Stephen Harrell and Fire-fighter Sean Tallon from Ladder 10.
Although it was unable to be used as a firehouse after the collapse of the towers, the quarters of Engine 10 and Ladder 10 nevertheless played a vital role in the daily operations at Ground Zero. During the early days of the rescue and recovery operations and even during the clean up of the site, the Ten House was used as a rest and recuperation station as well as a command post for fire department operations at the site. The $3.5 million repair project took more than two years to complete and the new Ten House was re-opened on November 5th 2003.
Below is a picture I took in 2007 of another Seagrave Truck, this time of FDNY Ladder Company 109.
Together with FDNY Engine Company 241, Ladder 109 is based at 6630 Third Avenue, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and is known as the “3rd Avenue Express”.
The firehouse is only a few blocks from where my good friends Mike and Char live and judging by the way I have seen them drive, I can see where they got the firehouse name from!
(Both trucks of Ladder 10 and Ladder 109 are rear-mount aerial fire trucks designed by Seagrave Fire Apparatus and each one costs about $550,000. They have two rear down-and-out stabilizers, an 8kw hydraulic generator to provide A/C power to lights or tools, a 370 horsepower Detroit Series 60 engine and a cab and body of corrosion-resistant steel).