Glencoe (IL) Retires 1981 Fire Apparatus

In a brief mid-day ceremony, Public Safety Chief Cary Lewandowski announced the village’s American LaFrance Century Edition 1500 GPM Pumper engine will be donated to the Northern Illinois Fire Museum to make way for a new truck that can pump up to 2,000 gallons a minute.

“It was designed and built with specific specifications which will meet or exceed the community’s needs for many years to come,” Lewandowski said of the new truck. Altogether, the village has three trucks.

As part of the handing-off tradition, water from the old truck poured out onto the new vehicle for its first “bath.”

“The ceremony re-establishes the pride of ownership that comes with tradition, respect and appreciation for dedicated service,” Lewandowski said.

But not only was the water flowing; so was sentiment for the old white truck about to be sent off into retirement.

“It is with pride that we retire our 1981 engine today. It has faithfully served Glencoe and the entire North Shore as a front-line and reserve engine for the past 34 years,” Lewandowski said. “Its shining moment came in 1992, when it pumped continuously without failure at the Chicago Loop flood disaster.”

Lewandowski later estimated the now retired truck was used at least 150 times dating back to its initiation, which came in the first year of Ronald Reagan being in the White House.

Glencoe, which got its first piece of motorized fire equipment in 1915, is donating the truck to the Marengo-based Northern Illinois Fire Museum, which will now have equipment from six different communities.

“We want to preserve the history of the fire service and we want to use it as an educational area for kids to come out and learn about the fire service and fire safety,” added the Fire Museum’s President, Dennis Ahrens, himself a retired firefighter.

While the truck will have a new home, museum officials said they will bring the truck back to the village for ceremonies such as parades if asked.

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