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Historical Fire Apparatus Account
This was the first piece of apparatus to arrive at the infamous Hartford Circus Fire of July 6, 1944.
Engine 7 inside Engine 7's quarters on Main and Sanford Street, Hartford, CT.
Annual pump test on the Connecticut River 1930
Responding to a fire with Captain John McDonald 1947.
Master Mechanic David Worth attends to the vehicle on the road...
The year is 2011 at Connecticut Fireman's Museum in Manchester at a pumping demonstration.
The HFD 1911 water tower (in the background) was out for the event also...
At the Connecticut Fire Museum in East Windsor CT.
Handwritten report by Captain John McDonald of Engine 7's effort in the Hartford Circus Fire of 1944
(for an interpretive text of the report in PDF, click on the above reproduction)
Photo of Daniel J. Kelly who was 95 at the time of his visit and this photo. He was a driver for Hartfords Engine
Company 4 and was the last surviving Hartford fireman who was at the circus fire in 1944.
Retired Hartford firefighter Dan Kelly with Alan Walker and Bert Johanson with the 1928 American LaFrance pumper.
In 1927 American LaFrance introduced the new Metropolitan series which sported an entirely new front end, new taller radiator and cast metal cowl. The pumper engines were called Type 145 with 1000 gpm rotary gear pumps and the tried and true 120 horse power engine. The 100 Series were only built from 1927 until 1929 when the all new Master Series was introduced.
Placed in service January 22,1929 at Engine Company 7 at Main and Sanford Street. Assigned builders number 6537 by American LaFrance it was originally going to be assigned to Engine 9 which was opening on New Britain Avenue. Instead it was assigned to Engine Co. 7 and served Engine 7 until it was replaced in the late 1940's. This truck served the Hartford Fire Department as a first line piece for almost 20 years. On July 6, 1944 this was the first piece of apparatus to arrive at the Hartford Circus fire . At the time of the first Captain John McDonald was the commanding officer for Company 7 and a copy of his report on the fire is shown here. (to be added later)
Sold at auction sometime in the early 1950's the truck eventually was donated to the Hayward Fire Company in Colchester, CT. In 1998 the truck was donated to the fire museum and after a 3 year restoration process is operational again.
Story and photos courtesy of Bert Johanson
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