"Looking Back"by Captain Greg Roembke
Back in 1935, the Shops undertook a project aimed at saving the City money by building fire apparatus from the ground up. After assemblying the chassis, the shop crews (all firefighters) added bodywork and ground ladders, Service Truck No. 5 was placed in service in June of 1935. And it proved to be a durable piece of equipment as it was still on the roster in 1966. It wasn't long before they were turning out pumpers as well. On October 17th, 1935, a 1000 GPM Engine built by the Shop was placed in service. This was the first of eight pumpers built between 1935 and 1945, several of which were still seeing service in 1969. Originally called IFD Specials, they are best known as "Shop Built's". They were easy to drive, easy to work off of, and well liked by the guys that used them.It's wasn't unusual then, as now, for an apparatus to see service at several different Stations during its career. However IFD Special number 4P, a 1937, 1000 GPM pumper has a rather interesting history.Placed in Service at Station 10 on October 2nd, 1937, Engine 10 served the South side of Downtown from it's Russell Street House. In October of 1941, Station 10 was closed, and Engine 10 moved to Station 17 on Madison Ave. On October 15th, 1952, Engine 10 was disbanded as part of a Department reorganization. However, IFD Special 4P just moved over a bay, and became Engine 17. Just about three years later, on July 14th, 1955, it was involved in an accident on the South Side, and was badly damaged. This wasn't a problem for the 17's as they soon picked up one of those new Maxim pumpers that the City was buying on a regular basis.But that wasn't the end of old IFD Special 4P. It was repaired by the Shops, and was placed in service as Engine 21 on December 16th, 1955. This was home until early 1958, when it was replaced, and sent to the Shop On August 25th, 1958, Engine 10 was reorganized in a new Station at 34th and Sherman Drive. The Mayor, Fire Chief and the rest turned out for a big opening ceremony. Speeches were made, ribbons cut, and the apparatus was backed into it's new home. And I'm sure that while no one may have recognized it at the time, the apparatus assigned as Engine 10 was none other than IFD Special 4P. Back where it all started over 20 years before.