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Firefighters want to see vintage rig restored

Original post made on Feb 24, 2014

After Mountain View lost several buildings to fires in the 1920s, the city took delivery of what was said to be the best fire engine you could buy, and the best in all of Santa Clara County.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, February 24, 2014, 10:30 AM

Comments (15)

Posted by Stevie
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 24, 2014 at 11:24 am

Considering that American LaFrance has permanently closed it's doors this might be tough to find any needed parts for it!

Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 24, 2014 at 12:11 pm

It better not impact the city budget by $1.

I'm not sure how the people of Mountain View will benefit having an 86 year old fire engine sitting around.

Even if they do get someone to donate $170,000 for the restoration it's still going cost us tax payers something in the long run.

It will have to be stored someplace, that's not exactly free.
It will require some maintenance, that's definitely not free.

City and State Fire Departments get dozens and sometimes hundreds of applicants for every open position so it's not like they need a recruiting tool.

They should clean it up, remove any sharp edges, and make it a playground feature at Rengstorff park. Now that would be good for the people of Mountain View.

Posted by Gouchy Grumpenstien
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 24, 2014 at 2:34 pm

For the record, I'm OK with a $1.00 impact to the city budget for the restoration. Perhaps a few dollars more in the long run to preserve some history. We spend more on art that literally just sits around(I'm sure at the abject disgust of Otto). The engine would be fun to see at schools, parades and other community events. To know its been in our city for all these years is a chance for history to be alive for our young kids, and they could actually touch that history...after they wash their hands of course. That's worth a few farthings IMO.

Anyway, I'm glad the coast isn't huge so it looks like donations might do the trick, and we'll only have to listen to Otto threaten to complain instead of actually complaining.

Posted by Steve
a resident of another community
on Feb 24, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Isn't this something that Google should pay for?

Posted by Bill
a resident of Jackson Park
on Feb 24, 2014 at 3:07 pm

The city's Model T fire engine used to always be in the spring parade but I haven't seen it the last few years. I didn't know we had 2 antique engines.

Posted by @ Otto
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 24, 2014 at 6:15 pm

Good idea, "They should clean it up, remove any sharp edges, and make it a playground feature at Rengstorff park. Now that would be good for the people of Mountain View." especially their children.

Posted by Wow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 24, 2014 at 7:55 pm

They should clean it up, remove any sharp edges, and make it a playground feature at Rengstorff park. Now that would be good for the people of Mountain View.

Since he is such a positive force, maybe that is what should be done with Otto.

Posted by Mr Advice
a resident of Bailey Park
on Feb 24, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Google would be more than happy to fund a restoration project, it could be on display in hanger #1.

Posted by Fire Hose
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 25, 2014 at 6:02 am

I just hate to tell Otto that the "child proofing", safety reviews, installation and maintenance would likely cost a bundle as well, and since it would be an addition to the public park, its logical that that the city should pay for it out of their parks and rec budget. I do like Otto's idea, but his idea would use city funds, which he must be in conflict about.

Posted by Jay Park
a resident of Jackson Park
on Feb 25, 2014 at 8:11 am

I will point out that the ongoing maintenance costs for a child-proofed fire engine at a local park would be substantial.

Exposure to the elements is very harsh, and a vehicle with an intricate paint job (with gold accents and white trim stripes) would be even more susceptible to damage. Red paint has relatively poor lightfast properties and tends to fade, particularly if accurate pigments from the era would be used. Any repainting would require the vehicle to be disassembled and transported to a restorer's workshop.

The brass components would also be subject to deterioration from the elements and require routine restoration. And sadly, they would also be vulnerable to theft.

Of course, it could be left to the mercy of Mother Nature until it reaches a rather shabby state to defer maintenance, but then it would no longer be a source of civic pride.

Not so sure this is the best future for this fire engine.

Posted by Mary
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 25, 2014 at 1:10 pm

I think it's a great idea!! How cool could that be. It's history!

Posted by Waldo
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 25, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Waldo is a registered user.

The MV Voice article is full of interesting historical facts, especially regarding some of the old building names. Hopefully, the MV Voice will track this topic, and let us know how donations will be handled for the restoration.

Posted by PS
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2015 at 9:10 am

I live in Kissimmee and we have a 1923 American LaFrance. It looks good over all and is functional but lately it has needed some attention and is not making our next parade as parts are hard to find or have to be custom made. Perhaps this old LaFrance that may never end up restored could be used to keep other more loved Lafrance's on the road. Instead of your truck being a burden on your community as some are stating you could recycle it buy selling off the needed parts to other municipalities that still use their old trucks for community events. That one LaFrance may be able to keep many others going around the country. But normally city items have to be advertised and sold at auction for the people’s sake. This would more than likely put the LaFrance in a private collectors hands which is a shame considering the People will not get to enjoy the former asset.

Posted by bill lee
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2015 at 4:43 pm


Posted by Greg David
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 12, 2015 at 6:14 pm

Greg David is a registered user.

Maybe if the city was not planning on spending $800K on fantasy drawings of a transit center that will never be built, they could use $170K in the name of historic preservation.

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