What's My Engine Company Number?

This article was written by my father "Bob Guildig" and published in the Phoenix Fire Department book "Up From The Ashes" written by Harold Shell in 1986.

What's My Engine Company Number?

Can you imagine coaching a football team when all the players had the same number or no number at all on their jerseys? WELL... before 1969 the Phoenix Fire Department had a lot of fire companies in service with just that problem. Either the same number, the wrong number, or no number at all. You were required to have ESP or something just to be able to identify the companies.

There were times we fire buffs were asked by a captain or chief officer what company was parked a block away from the fire scene. The engine in question was unidentifiable because... Well let me give you a few examples.

Engine Company 1 and 6 were both numbered 6. Engine company 3 and 8 were both numbered 3. At another time Engine company 8 was numbered 34, and Engine company 5 was numbered 12, and at another time 28. Engine company 7 was numbered 4, and so was Engine company 4. Engine Company 14 went in service using a Tanker as their engine but lettered Tanker-Pumper 2. There was a Ladder Company in Phoenix that was lettered Ladder Company 4 on the doors and Truck 2 on the hoods. (It really was Ladder 4).

Can you imagine a "booter" that got assigned to one of the following stations? If he was lucky or maybe if he put a secret mark on the engine he was assigned too, he went home on the right rig because.... Engine Company 9 was numbered 10 and Engine Company 10 was numbered 9 with very similar looking Pirsch pumpers. Part of the problem was solved when the rig of Engine Company 9 was given to Engine Company 10. But when the old rig of Engine Company 10 was repainted and given to Engine Company 15 a new problem developed. Engine Company 12 had a identical rig and both were now in service without any company numbers on the doors.

When Engine Company 9 received a new Van Pelt, the rig was numbered 18 and Engine Company 18 went in service with a twin sister numbered 17. Now Engine Company 17 was lucky they went in service with a new Central rig numbered 17.

Now if this doesn't confuse you, I have a couple more. Engine company 11 was numbered 13 and Engine company 13 was numbered 2 on one side and blank on the other and to top that off both rigs were almost identical. There was also a time when some companies didn't have any numbers. Those being Engine companies 5, 6, 7, 12, 15, 16, 19, 22 and 23. In the early 50's, station 1 ran a Squad company 1 and Engine company 9 ran the old Squad as their engine, BOTH were numbered Squad company 1.

How about a new TV program for the command officers? "What's my Engine Number"?

One last comment. Let's not forget the alarm room. Before 1965 the alarm response cards called for dispatching Ladder Co's 1, 2, 3, and 4. But the in service Ladder Companies were Ladder 1, 4 (2) 9 (4) and 10 (3).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My name is Michael J. Keppler. I am a active member of the 2-11 Ass. Phoenix Fire Buffs contact me please @ mjkrmfd833@yahoo.com