Let's face it, kids of all ages love fire trucks, and there are more than a few car guys who restore and show them. My friend Ron Moorhead, a retired firefighter, is one. Jay Leno is another, though his a 1941 American LaFrance his has been modified so it can haul people or motorcycles behind the cockpit.
You may see the occasional old fire engine at a local cruise-in, but the best place to see classic firefighting equipment is the Hall of Flame Fire Museum and the National Firefighting Hall of Heroes in Phoenix, Arizona, where more than 130 fully restored pieces are on display, one of them dating to 1725.
The Hall of Flame is sponsored by the National Historical Fire Foundation, established in 1961 by George F. Getz Jr., whose wife, Olive Atwater Getz, bought him a 1924 American LaFrance Type 12 as a Christmas present in 1955. The Getz lived at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where George used to five local children rides on his truck. Over the years he added other fire trucks to what became a collection housed in Kenosha, Wisconsin until 1970, when the family moved to Scottsdale, Arizona.
The Hall of Flame opened in its current location, Papago Park (across the road from the Phoenix Zoo and adjacent to Phoenix Municipal Stadium, spring training facilities for the Oakland A's) in 1974.
The collection includes firefighting equipment from the United States, Europe and Japan. There also are displays of firefighting uniforms, an exhibit on forest fires, a firefighting dispatch center and a hands-on fire safety center for children.
The Hall of Flame, at 6101 E. Van Buren St., is open daily, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., except for Sundays, when the hours are noon until 4 p.m.
For more information, visit the Hall of Flame website
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