LOS ANGELES COUNTY FIRE MUSEUM COLLECTION
1924 American LaFrance Type 75
This engine originally was purchased for the Signal Hill Fire Protection District of the Los Angeles County Forestry Department, later to be known as the Los Angeles County Fire Department. It was designated as Engine 12, a 1924 American LaFrance Type 75 when it was delivered on March 17, 1924. In 1925 Signal Hill incorporated as a city. The fire station and the American LaFrance fire engine became part of the new Signal Hill Fire Department and the number “12” was later assigned to a station and engine in Altadena. Most of Signal Hill’s fire district personnel stayed on to become the new city’s first firemen.
Not much is known of this engine’s history during the next fifteen years, but some time in the early 1940’s it found its way back to the County fire department. At that time it was designated as Engine 45 in the new Lakewood Fire Protection District. Again, we don’t have much history about this rig during its second period of County service. What is known is that in the summer of 1996 it became part of the growing County of Los Angeles Fire Museum collection. The Signal Hill LaFrance is now awaiting a total frame-off restoration to its original appearance.
An image from the Long Beach Press Telegram newspaper dated July 1, 1945.
The article is about the end of the Lakewood Fire Department.
Lakewood “SMOKE EATERS” – Here are members of the Lakewood Volunteer Fire Department and their three trucks. The Lakewood district became a part of the Los Angeles County Fire District.
The first truck on the left (our Engine 12!), William F. Bly, Bill Mott, Paul E Portier. Second truck, H. E. Jones, President of the Lakewood Fire Department; G. E. Rusk, secretary-treasurer; Sterling Parr; C. Walter Pipps, Assistant Chief; Earl Bollschweiler, Chief; C. O. Bursell; J. J. Marshall. Third truck, Ford Cooley; Jess S. Salter, Past President; John E. Junior, Vice President; Ralph Sundstrom. (Press Telegram and Sun Photo)
Here is the complete article:
The Lakewood Volunteer Fire Department is no more. Beginning today, the Lakewood fire district which includes Lakewood Village, Lakewood City and part of Mayfair, now is part of the county fire district.
The volunteers, 19 men who have battled fires in the area, and incidentally have had the time of their lives doing it, from now on will fight fires in an unofficial instead of an official capacity.
It was in 1937 when Lakewood Village was just getting started that the volunteers were organized. They started with one truck, which they bought by giving dances and giving contributions our of their own pockets, and they also had the use of a Montana Land Co. truck.
They built the Lakewood fire station, a frame structure 24 by 24 feet, at 4412 Greenmeadow Rd. They worked out a system of blasts on a huge defense horn to notify members where the fire was – for instance one long and one short blast meant the business district. They got so good at answering calls that often most of the members wear at the station by the time the second fire truck rolled out.
In 1942, when most of the members were doing war work of various kinds as well as holding their regular jobs, the department was placed under the Public Utility Board. A paid man was kept at the station at night. THe equipment was increased to three trucks.
In recent months it has been felt that Lakewood area has “grown up” and needs regular fire-fighting service. As a result the district became included in the county district. THe county will keep trained men on duty 24 hours a day, but using the same system of horn blasts the volunteers will answer emergency calls.