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Seattle Fire Apparatus, A History Book


By John M. Malecky December, 2022

Seattle Fire Apparatus
A History Book
By Bill Hattersley with Galen K. Thomaier

Available from:
FSP Books & Video
433 Main Street, Suite 2A
Hudson, MA 01749
E-mail: support@fire-police-ems.com

Price: $34.95

This is a 9-inch by 11-inch soft covered book with 134 pages. It has spiral binding and plastic page protectors over the front and back covers. The covers have color photos. The rest of the book is of quality black and white photos. Compilation of the history was started back in the 1960’s by three men, two of the now deceased. This book is entirely written by Bill Hattersley with the help of Galen K. Thomaier, who is retired from the SFD and is the SFD historian. I personally know Mr. Hattersley and photographed with him in 1986 when the International Fire Buffs Association had a convention in Seattle. I know for a fact that he is a very thorough person when it comes to photography and detail, especially on apparatus information and history. He seeks to get the correct information, whether personally or from reliable sources, all of which are named in the back of the book. It is one of the most comprehensive histories of apparatus that I have ever seen!

There are 12 chapters and an appendix. The first nine chapters cover eras. Chapter 10 deals with fireboats (of which the SFD had some of the most powerful ones), and Chapter 11 deals with chief’s cars and air/medic units. Chapter 12 deals with stations and companies from 1890 -2021. The photos are flawless and because it is a history book, you will learn a lot about the vehicles. If you happen to see a photo and notes something about the rig, keep reading because information may be on the pages before, but is there someplace. The SFD had some interesting rigs, including many Kenworths. One of the reasons was that Kenworth was built in Seattle. Some apparatus bodies were built in the SFD shop and others by Heiser, a local builder. An extended interview of Mr. Heiser by Bill revealed a wealth of information.

Other points to bring up was the first turbo charged, an American LaFrance aerial and it’s story (powered by a Boeing 325 horsepower power plant), as well as an Aero Chief platform later converted to a rear-mount aerial. There is mention on city service trucks being converted to service aerials when replaced and tractor-drawn aerials which later were designed with tandem axle tractors. You can probably guess why! Apparatus numbers accompany many of the photos, plus the appendix is loaded with just about anything you’d want to know along this line.

For the price, this is certainly a book that history buffs and apparatus buffs would not want to be without!

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John MaleckySenior Columnist

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