Credit Union Donations at Work in the Community
For the past seven months, current and retired members of the Fort Wayne Fire Department have been donating their time to restore a piece of firefighting history. Purchased in the 1980s, the 1893 Amoskeag Steamer that has been preserved at the Fort Wayne Firefighters Museum for over three decades is being restored to its former glory. The steamer, which was in service in Detroit between 1893 and 1930, is one of only four remaining in North America and is the same size and class as the original Fort Wayne Steamer #3. Fort Wayne’s original steamer was sold when it was replaced by the motorized gas engine.
The steamer restoration project is headed by Larry Blair, a FWFD retiree, who has helped with mechanical maintenance on the Firefighters Museum trucks and equipment for years. Other volunteers include Lance Dafforn, Denny Giere, Joel Degitz, and Angie Studle. Dafforn is Blair’s apprentice in maintaining and restoring the museum trucks and equipment, while also serving as a captain in the FWFD. The volunteers spend their evening every third Wednesday of the month sanding and scraping the wagon body. Angie Studle, FWFD retiree, sand blasts the brackets and other smaller pieces removed from the wagon. Once all the scraping, sanding, and sand blasting is complete, the steamer will be primed and receive fresh red paint and new gold leaf trim. Fire Police City County FCU, a long-time supporter of the Fort Wayne Firefighters Museum, presented a donation in the amount of $1,000 to help offset the costs associated with the project.
Excluding the 1893 Amoskeag Steamer, all the equipment and trucks in the museum were once used by the Fort Wayne Fire Department. Back in 1907, Station #3, now the Fort Wayne Firefighters Museum, was the home of the original steamer, two hose wagons, a ladder wagon, chemical wagon, coal wagon, and twelve horses. The museum is now home to many pieces of Fort Wayne firefighting history, including Engine 38 and Old 42. Engine 38 is also in progress for restoration, but is almost complete. Old 42, a 1942 International Harvester Pumper, was restored some time ago, and is the engine in which the memory of fallen firefighters remain as they are taken for “The Last Ride” and their name engraved on a plaque inside the truck.
The Fort Wayne Firefighters Museum is located in downtown Fort Wayne off of Washington Boulevard in old FWFD Station #3. Memberships are available. Stop by weekdays 10am-4pm or Saturday 10am-3pm for a first class tour through Fort Wayne’s firefighting history.