The Evolution of equipment
At the inception of the Company in 1894, a Number 4 Combined Chemical and Water Engine manufactured by Howe Truck and Engine was purchased, followed by a hose wagon and a Hook and Ladder truck, and a two-cylinder hand pumper. The hand pump proved to be inadequate, since everyone wanted to see the fire and no one wanted to pump. $1,200 was appropriated for a new motor driven pump with a hand pump connection in 1906. Also, the old hose wagon was discarded and a new hose reel was purchased.
In the fall of 1922, a new truck was ordered from the REO Motor Car Company. The 1923 REO was equipped with ladders and carried milk cans to haul water to the fire scene
1925 Seagrave 750gpm Pumper - Sealed proposals were taken in 1925 for a 750 gallon per minute pumper, complete with hose body. The new Seagrave was delivered to the local railroad depot by end-loading boxcar.
The new pumper was the pride of the Village and was later shown off at the head of the Menomonee Falls Firemen's parade. To assure the citizens and businesses of a proper firefighting responses at all times, a rule was enacted that prohibited it from leaving the Village.
The 1925 Seagrave 750gpm pumper on the Third Street (now Roosevelt Dr.) bridge drafting from the Menomonee River.
Here's a photo of the 1926 addition to the fire department fleet parked in front of the local Chevrolet dealership.
1930 Seagrave 500gpm Pumper- The Company voted to purchase a new Seagrave Fire Apparatus in 1930. This Seagrave was restored in 1976 and is still used in some of our parades and other events.
Now with two Seagrave engines, firefighters referred to them as the Big Seagrave (1925) and Little Seagrave (1930).
The membership voted to sell the Ford pumper they had and keep the Chevrolet Chemical truck, but that was soon sold to Stone Bank for $800 in 1931.
In 1949, a new fire engine, an International, was delivered to supplement the two Seagrave pumpers. The International was equipped with a 600 gallon per minute front mounted pump and a 1,000 gallon water tank. The Reo was finally retired and sold to the American Legion for $25 in 1950 and the little Seagrave engine was rebuilt for $1,312.
A 1954 GMC with a front-mount pump, and a 1955 Metro van were added to the fleet. Here's the entire Menomonee Falls Fire Department-Company #1 fleet in front of the high school in 1956.
The department had a 1966 Central Engine and by 1966 a contract was awarded to the Pirsch Company in Kenosha Wisconsin for an 85-foot aerial ladder for the sum of $57,266.
Pirsch engines were added in 1968 and 1972. A second Pirsch aerial ladder, a 65-foot rear-mount was added in 1974,
A Ford Heavy Rescue was purchased and was paid for in part with Federal Civil Defense funds.
Up to this point, it was still common for firefighters to ride in open areas of the apparatus, not secured with a seat belt, or on the rear tailboard where they rode in a standing position, "secured" by a strap. The Pirsch engines had interior seating for 3 on a bench seat, 2 rear-facing open jump seats, and room for 3 firefighters on the tailboard.
The Department also owned 2 smaller Ford engines with a similar open seating arrangement.
The MFFD had 2 Mack-Marion tankers with open jump seats, one of which was later converted into a heavy rescue unit.
Tailboard riding officially died with the 1992 version of NFPA standard 1901 which said all firefighters must be seated and belted when a truck is in motion. This brought about a new era of fire apparatus design.
Chief Fulcher worked with the Marion Body Works Company to obtain our first fully engine with a fully enclosed crew compartment. The 1986 Mack-Marion engine had front seats for the driver and officer and enclosed rear-facing seating for three firefighters. All positions were equipped with seat belts. Marion Body Works displayed the new MFFD engine at the FDIC Convention in Indianapolis.
The MFFD purchased several additional Mack-Marion vehicles.