Squad 51 Gets an
The squad wishes to express its appreciation to Erika & Rozane for allowing him this opportunity to speak to loyal "Emergency!" fans everywhere.
Thursday, April 15, 1999 was a very special day for me for two reasons-I made two new friends and left my home, The County of Los Angeles Fire Museum, for a much needed restoration. Laura (right) and Deborah (left) were in Los Angeles on non "Emergency!" business (I know, I was shocked, too!), but took time to come and see me off. Laura was actually one of the folks who worked on the "Emergency!" convention, but she was too busy to meet me then, and Deborah didnt find out about the convention until it was all over.
Before I left for my make-over I took the ladies for a spin around the block (with a little help from Paul Schneider).
For those of you who have always wondered what the "John Gage" view was like, Laura has taken care of that for you.
Before I left, Paul removed my license plates since Im getting new ones to go along with the "new" me. I cant tell you what the new ones will say because its a secret, but I can tell you its very fitting! As Paul was taking the rear plate off, I overheard him say to Deborah, "I wonder how much these would go for on E-bay", but he was just joking.
Once the mechanics got there, they went over everything that needs work with Paul which includes the brakes (completely gone), the transmission (it sticks), all of the equipment compartments (rusted through), and the lights (which failed completely just as Paul & I were getting ready to take the ladies out-it was so embarrassing!) The final list of everything that needs to be fixed is a very long one. So long, in fact, that Paul says no one will recognize me when Im done, but I know all the loyal fans out there will always recognize me no matter what! For all you trivia buffs, Paul also discovered during this walk-around that I dont have a siren, but I already knew that. Universal dubbed in the siren sounds during editing. The ladies also took this opportunity to make sure the nice man in the white coveralls, who will be doing much of this work, understood that if anything happened to me there isnt anyplace on Earth hed be able to hide!
Theres another matter I would like to bring to the fans attention and that is the cost of this restoration. I overheard Paul and Laura talking about it and Paul says the work is going to cost around $10,000.00. While Im worth every penny of that, its still alot of money for the Museum which relies on memberships and fundraising projects for the money to carry out its mission. Now, I realize that many of you came to the convention in October to help raise money for my restoration and believe me, were all very grateful to each and every one of you who came. According to Paul, after all the expenses were met, there was about $3000.00 left over. Half of that went to the LACoFD Explorer Program, which is only fair since those kids worked their collective butts off that weekend and they are the future of the LACoFD. While the rest came to Paul and the Museum for my restoration, they are still about $8500.00 short of what is needed.
Once Im all fixed up again, Ill be able to go out to different shows and events and help raise money for future restoration projects. But, in the meantime, sending me in for my work means that Paul, and the other guys at the Museum who take care of me, wont be able to get some of the things the other apparatus at the Museum need. Did you know, for example, that also housed in the Museum is the horse-drawn steam pumper seen during the burning of Atlanta in "Gone With the Wind"? It also needs lots of work and some of the parts have to be specially made since they just dont exist anymore. The Crown engine used for the first two seasons in "Emergency!" , which was the real LACoFD Engine 60 with adhesive "51" decals on it, is also here and in need of some work as you can see. Paul told Laura that despite being nearly 30 years old, its only got 19,000 miles on it and runs better than I do (but Im prettier!)
So, if anyone would like to contribute to this (like some of you who didnt get to come to the convention), you can send a donation to:
The County of Los Angeles Fire Museum
All donations are tax deductible.
By the way, if youre wondering where the Ward LaFrance Engine "51" is and why its not here too, thats because its still on active duty in Yosemite. However, Paul was going to call up there after I left to check up on it and make sure the folks up there remembered its supposed to join us here when theyre done with it.
Well, if everything goes according to plan, the "new" me should be back at the Museum sometime in July or August 1999. In the meantime, in the immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, "Ill be back"
Los Angeles Fire Museum - SouthGate, CA by Jane
My trip wouldn't have been complete if I didn't get to see one of the original squads. The one I saw was either a "73" or "74". I was told they used three, and what happened to the other two is unknown.
I also was able to see the first engine used in E! My tour guide was Paul. He is not only a fireman, but runs the warehouse where there are some unique looking fire trucks. Paul & his brother restore antiques as far back as early 1900's and even steam engines from the 1800's.
The Squad had seen better days. Though the paint looked good, I was told it didn't run well. It only has 58,000 miles on it. They plan on having it restored real soon!! It still looked the same to me! Paul told me that the last engine used in E! is being used by Yosemite National Park. It will be returned to the fire museum when the Park gets another one. Paul hopes to find a bigger location to display some of the trucks to the public.
Of course I had to sit in the engine & squad with a borrowed L.A.Co.F.D. helmet. As a kid , I always imagined myself riding in the squad with "Johnny" & "Roy". I had an excellent time and learned something about firetrucks, steam engines & of course the squad. I even met a some firemen from Station 165 and even a real paramedic! I met a lot of firemen in California, and all of them were awesome! Not only do I respect these guys for the work they do, but for their hospitality and kindness! My thanks & gratitude goes out to Paul for his time and knowledge!!! He is quite a busy man. Also an honorable mention to the man that someday I hope to meet!! I can't tell you how much I appreciated your help. I can't forget to express my gratitude to my husband Chet....who lives with an E! fanatic, and helped me do this!! I know he had as much fun as I did!
All pictures and text, copyright 1997 by JC Studios
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