The Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting in Phoenix, Arizona, celebrated its 60th anniversary last year by inducting the restored Fire Department of New York (FDNY) Rescue 4 truck that was almost completely ruined when it responded to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The restored rescue is now part of the Museum’s permanent collection.
In 2017 Robert Allen, formerly of FDNY Engine 232, purchased the 1996 FDNY HME Saulsbury Rescue 4 rig and two years later donated it to the Hall of Flame Museum under the condition that it would never be used for anything but a museum display. At the time when Rescue 4 responded to the World Trade Center on 9/11, it carried a crew of eight firefighters, all of whom died when the towers collapsed.
Mark Anello of Fountain Hills, Arizona, who was instrumental with Rick Stuve of Phoenix in restoring Rescue 4 for the Museum, says the rig was stationed in Queens when the World Trade Center call came in. “Rescue 1 ran out of Manhattan and was totally destroyed, while Rescue 2 came out of Brooklyn and was so badly damaged it had to be cut up and destroyed,” Anello says. “Rescue 3 from Bronx and Rescue 4 from Queens survived and went into a spare pool for about eight years, while Rescue 5 from Staten Island went to haz mat.”
Anello, who served nine years as a volunteer firefighter in the Franklin Square (NY) Fire Department, as a dispatcher is Nassau County (NY), and later as a Colorado corrections officer and highway patrolman, notes that when the Museum got Rescue 4, the restoration had been started on the truck, but there was still a lot to be done. “It didn’t have any doors on it,” he pointed out. “The Remembrance Project in Chicago got the two cab doors and one crew door from Rescue 3, which had been scrapped, and we were able to use them on Rescue 4. Then we had Rescue 4 repainted, re-striped, and had the logos hand-painted on the rear.”
Stuve, who served 20 years as a volunteer firefighter with the Massapequa Fire Department, has an affinity for working with vehicles. “I’m a nuts and bolts guy and was able to get some warning lights donated by various venders,” Stuve says. “We wanted to restore Rescue 4 to how it was as it responded to the World Trade Center that day. Whelen gave us all the strobe and warning lights to replace the damaged ones on the truck.”
Stuve credits Anello with getting all the painting and body work done on Rescue 4. “There are the original graphics on the doors now,” he says. “Mark was responsible for getting the painting and polishing done, as well as replacing a lot of the equipment on the truck so it was in the same configuration as when it responded to the WTC.
The Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting is the world’s largest museum dedicated to the firefighting profession. It’s sponsored by the National Historical Fire Foundation, and is home to more than 100 pieces of restored fire apparatus dating back as far as 1725, with rigs from America, England, France, Germany, Austria, and Japan. The Museum also houses the National Hall of Heroes Gallery, which honors both decorated firefighters and those who have died in the line of duty.
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Ariz.-based journalist, the author of three novels and five non-fiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including the position of chief.