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The United States has a long history of fire departments using surplus property from other government agencies

, re purposing property within departments, and sometimes other agencies reusing obsolete fire apparatus. Fireboats and Search and Rescue Boats have been converted from military and other government agencies surplus since the end of World War I. It is unlikely there will be any future conversions of large high gallon per minute capacity, 5,000 gpm or more, fireboats from surplus craft . It is possible that some of the tractor tugs built for the U.S. Navy with substantial fire fighting features and capability included could be made available through the Federal Government surplus property transfer programs in a few decades. Large fireboats have since the 1970s been built using features from tugboats, but have many special design features to deal with hazardous materials etc. Search and Rescue and small fireboats of no more the 2,000 or so gallons per minute are still sometimes converted from surplus craft obtained from other government agencies. In 1921, the Baltimore City Fire Department received, by loan from the U.S. Navy, the 110 foot long anti-submarine warfare vessel SC 428 . Ship was built between 1917-and 1919 . Boat was loaned for the purpose of conversion into a fireboat. The ship, renamed Cascade in 1949, served the fire department until 1960. The city received titled to the ship in 1949 through legislation passed by the House and Senate and signed by President Truman. The U.S. Army built several 98 foot tugboat type workboats ,in the early 20th century, to assist with maintaining coastal defense minefields. One of these ships, General Harvey Brown, was purchased by the City of Norfolk, Virginia in 1922 from the U.S. Army at a negotiated and discounted price .It was converted into the fireboat Vulcan. Ship served as a fireboat for 20 years before being sold for merchant marine use during World War II. Use of surplus property allowed the 1909 built fireboat Duwamish of the City of Seattle, Washington Fire Department to remain in service until 1984. In 1949, the ship was converted from steam to diesel propulsion , had a general modernization of fittings, and had some additional firefighting equipment added using engines and equipment removed from ships being sold for scrap or never completed after the end of Word War II . The Duwamish is now a privately owned museum ship in Seattle The City of Boston, Massachusetts obtained the 97 foot long former minesweepers USS Bulwark and USS Marabout from the Federal Government in 1946 and converted them into fireboats. Boats was renamed the Joseph J. Luna and James F. McTighe . They served as fireboats for the city until replaced by the built as a fireboat ,the Firefighter , in 1972. Both of these ships were purchased by private firms for further commercial use. The City of Wilmington North Carolina had three different ,obtained from Federal agencies as surplus, boats and ships as the city fireboat between 1949 and 1999. The boats were Atlantic III to Atlantic V. The Atlantic III and V were military surplus small boats. The tugboat type workboat Atlantic IV had been the U.S. Public Health Service inspection vessel T.B. McClintic of Baltimore from 1932 until its sale to the Fire Department in the mid 1960s. The diesel powered 100 foot Woban class tugboat USS Hoga was built in 1940. It was one of the navy yard tugboats at Pearl Harbor on December 7 , 1941 attack by the Japanese Navy on the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The Hoga was one of the main fireboats at the port and the crew saved much life and property there. In 1948 the boat was leased to the City of Oakland for $1.00 a year by the U.S. Navy to be Oaklands first fireboat. The ship served as Oaklands fireboat until 1996 when it was returned to the navy. The Hoga will become an exhibit at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum, North Little Rock, AR within the next few years. In March of 2000 the County of Henrico, Virginia received from the Federal Government a former U.S. Coast Guard 41 foot utility boat. Boat was obtained for use of the countys joint police and

fire department marine patrol unit. Boat was the first for the unit with an enclosed crew space. It was operated for a few years until purpose built boats for the police and fire departments could be designed and delivered. Late in 2007 or in early 2008 the state of Massachusetts obtained four 1990s to early 21st century built 23 foot former Coast Guard Response Boats with enclosed wheelhouses. Each boat was sub-loaned, as a FEPP item, to a local fire department. The boats provide the fire departments access to areas along the shorelines as well as water rescue capability. They can carry more persons and larger pumps than most recreational boats of similar size typically used by fire departments. The former Chicago fireboat Fred Busse of 1937 was taken out of service by the Chicago, Illinois Fire Department in the early 1990s . It was sold to a private firm and transformed into a tour boat that operated in Chicago area for many years and now operates out of Door County,Wisconsin as a tour boat . The former Honolulu Hawaii fireboat Abner T. Longley was in service from 1951 until replaced by a new fireboat in 1993. It was converted to a tour boat and served for many years as such but has been out of service awaiting a new owner for the past few years Using airplanes to fight forest fires began after World War I ended. War surplus aircraft were used by state and Federal agencies mostly in the western states to detect wildland fire and to direct efforts to contain them. Aircraft types were often replaced every three or 4 years by the Army and the Navy/Marine Corps as aviation design rapidly changed so aircraft were easily available for transfer to the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of the Interior , local and state fire departments . In 1923 the Glendale, California Fire Department purchased a Curtis JN4D Jenny aircraft from the Army Air Corps property disposal office and used it for many years for the detection of and observation of incidents. In 1954 the modern practice of dropping water and chemicals onto wildland fires began. Paul Mantz, who owned a firm that provided aircraft and pilots for film productions, developed a system to mount water tanks in an aircraft and have the water dropped onto a fire with precision. The aircraft used was a surplus TBM Avenger owned by Mr. Mantz. The TBM Avenger had been the main torpedo carrying carrier based aircraft of World War II and was being phased out of service in the 1950s.Once this test proved the concept, the development of the modern air tanker/ aircraft began. Several types of aircraft were certified by state forestry departments and the U.S. Forest Service and Dept. of Interior. Contractors and the U.S Forest Service and Dept of Interior agencies converted many of the World War II U.S. Navy carrier based non fighter aircraft to air tankers and many types of the World War II land based bombers were converted for testing. Some types were approved for use others were not. The primary aircraft used were B-17 , PB4Y (the land based Navy and Coast Guard version of the B-24 Liberator) TBM Avenger, A/B-26 Invader, F7 Tigercat , PV-2 Harpoon and PBY amphibian . As the air tanker concept became popular in the mid to late 1950s, the Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force were beginning to sell many of the aircraft that had been made for but not seen use in World War II. These were being replaced by newer types more suited for current military needs even though many had only seen a few years of service. After several years of air tanker use, the Federal Government made operation of them strictly a contractor provided operation and just owned and maintained the lead/spotter planes Planes to direct the tanker aircraft, spot the fires, and direct the fire fighting efforts were needed too. These are known as Lead Planes. The T-34, T-28, and C-45 aircraft were transferred to the Forest Service, state agencies, and the Dept of Interior for these roles.

The World War II era aircraft used as tankers and lead planes began to show their age and also be sought by museums and movie production companies by the late 1960s. B-17 did continue as air tankers until 1984 and the PB4Y continued in use until 2002. PB4Y were used until one of the planes had a structural failure of a wing while fighting a fire in Colorado in 2002.The plane crashed and all crew members were killed. The caused was determined to be a design defect that did not reveal itself until the aircraft would reach several thousand flight hours. The piston and turbo prop engine aircraft of the U.S. military from the 1950s became available for fire fighting use in the late 1960s and 1970s. Common aircraft were the early C-130 Hercules A model transport planes , the P2V Neptune anti-submarine and maritime reconnaissance aircraft, the C-97 cargo plane and its aerial refueling variant the KC-97, C-119 and C-123 transport planes. The Navy S-2 Tracker anti -submarine warfare aircraft carrier based aircraft became available starting in the early 1970s and is in wide use today. It became the main aircraft of California Dept of Forestry and Fire Protection and some other departments. Most of the military surplus aircraft that became air tankers in the 1970s and 1980s have been replaced by DC-6 , DC-7 and DC-10 aircraft removed from passenger or cargo service, the modular removable water dropping systems that can be fitted to military C-130 aircraft on an as needed basis, and surplus P-3 Orion sold to air tanker firms. P-3 are the U.S. Navy anti submarine and maritime reconnaissance aircraft based on the late 1950s airliner Lockheed Electra Airliner. Some of the DC series planes have been military surplus. A C-130 crashed in 2002 as well. The FAA and Forest Service and Dept of Interior at the request of the NTSB issued new guidelines and requirements for tanker aircraft. C-130 A, C-97 and PB4Y were removed from the tanker program but still allowed to operate for other uses by the FAA once airworthiness directives were complied with. The Martin Mars Flying Boats, the largest seaplanes to ever enter regular military or civilian use have two of the five built remaining. All four sold by the U.S. Navy have been used for wildland fire fighting since being removed from U.S. Navy service in 1959. One of the four was destroyed in an accident in the early 1960s and the other was destroyed in a storm at the Flying Tankers Ltd. base in the early 1960s. The Mars remains the only World War II era aircraft sometimes used for firefighting in the United States. The aircraft were purchased by a Canadian firm, Flying Tankers later to become TimberWest Forest Ltd., in 1959 and used for firefighting mostly on lands owned by the consortium of companies that were the owners of the corporation that operated the planes until 2006. The Coulson Group of Companies of Port Alberni, British Columbia, Canada purchased the two remaining aircraft in 2007. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S Department of Interior sometimes contract for them if they are available when major wildland fires are taking place. With a capacity of 7,200 gallons they are the largest in capacity of former built for government use aircraft in the fleet of North Americas air tankers. A 2009 study by the U.S. Forest Service indicated that by 2012 most of the air tankers currently in use will have reached their service life limits. The P2V Neptune aircraft will have been in military and firefighting service for fifty five or more years and many will be at or near the limit of 15,000 flight hours set for the type. P-3 Orion aircraft transferred to the air tanker firms in the 1990s and early 21st century had many more military flight hours incurred than most of the previous types of large former military aircraft made available for the air tanker firms to purchase or obtain rights to use from the Federal Government. It is possible that the tankers will be replaced by new direct from the factory aircraft that would be directly owned by the Federal Government but operated and maintained by private firms, or military transport planes fitted with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System be allocated to the National Interagency Fire Center resource allocation system during the peak forest fire danger periods and return to regular military use outside of those times. The third option is to certify

additional aircraft types to be contractor owned and operated for air tanker use. These would be civil aviation types although versions of the aircraft used by the Department of Defense agencies would likely be purchased by the contractors. . Lead planes The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection obtained 20 Cessna -02 aircraft the military version of the Cessna 337 in 1974 to serve as lead planes. These were obtained from the U.S Air Force as surplus having been shipped back to the U.S. from the combat zones of South East Asia and not needed with the cease fire agreement of 1973. These were used until 1993 when recently taken out of service from the Marine Corps OV-10 Bronco aircraft replaced them. These are still in use today with the agency.Dynamic Aviation of Bridgewater, Virginia purchased most of the remaining U.S. Army U-21 aircraft in 1996. U-21 was the Army designation of the Beach King Air. Some of these planes are being used by the firm, when contracted, to collect data for incident commanders of wildland fires. Helicopters The UH-1 Huey of Vietnam War fame has been the primary helicopter for civilian operation water bucket dropping since the 1980s. The majority of these are owned by local and state agencies The CH-54 Tarhe of Vietnam War era rebuilt to S-64 Skycrane for civil aviation use are also used for firefighting. These are all owned by private firms and most see other uses between firefighting assignments .n recent years some AH-1 Cobra helicopter gunships built in 1960s to 1980s have been disarmed and heavily refitted as command and control / observation helicopters. These are owned by government agencies but are often flown by contracted crews. The version used by state of Florida even can carry a bucket for water dropping. Since the end of World War I, Fire Departments volunteer, career, and combination have obtained vehicles from dealers of surplus equipment or government surplus property disposal agencies and converted them to fire engines or tanker trucks. These trucks have been used for regular and wildland fire fighting. Fire apparatus vehicles From 1927 to 1941 the U.S. Army built its own fire engines using the chassis and engines of Model B 3 to 5 ton cargo trucks built for use in World War I but never fully assembled. These were the B, BF 510 and BF 750 engines manufactured at the Army Quartermaster Depot at Ft. Holabird in Baltimore, Maryland .Many of these engines were sold or transferred to fire departments during and after World War II ended. Some were retained for further service with the armed forces and Department of Defense civilian agencies then sold or transferred to civilian fire departments. The Bloomingdale, NJ Fire Department used a BF 750 transferred to the department during World War II until 1979. The Lockport, Illinois Fire Department obtained two BF 750 engines from the Army property disposal agencies in the late 1940s and used them for several years as fire engines. Many fire apparatus were constructed for new military bases and factories during World War II or to provide addition coverage for base and factory stations that needed additional apparatus to meet wartime needs. Many of these were sold at low prices or transferred to newly forming or existing fire department. The City of Newport News Virginia obtained in late 1945 a 1942 American LaFrance built for a factorys fire dept. The engine remained in service until 19 when it became the depts. display apparatus for use in public relations activities and funerals .In 1946 the Gaylordsville, NY Fire Dept. purchased, from a Federal property disposal agency, a 1942 Chevrolet 4 x 4 1.5 Ton Model G-7107 fire engine with the fire apparatus portion made by Oren for $800.00 The truck remained in active use with the department until 1997. It is now the departments display apparatus.

In 1955 Defiance Engine Company #3 in Hopatcong, NJ purchased a 1943 6-wheel Personnel and Weapons Carrier Truck from the U.S. Army. Company transformed it into a brush fire truck. The truck is still used for parades and is still considered in service by the department. It was not just cargo trucks, the open cab jeep and fire engines that fire departments found useful, the 1960s Kaiser Jeep 4 x 4 military utility trucks, the size of a large modern SUV was also popular in the 1970s and 1980s as a small fire apparatus. The Eureka Fire Protection District in Eureka, Missouri is one of several fire departments to still use this type of vehicle. The last model of the World War II style jeep was the model M151. It was produced from 1959 to 1982. Few if any of these vehicles saw any civilian fire department use as the U.S. Department of Transportation never certified them for non U.S. military use on public roads because of safety issues caused by the design of the vehicle. Former U.S. military Humvee especially the ones from the 1980s and early to mid 1990s and even some 21st century version that are not suitable to be armored or that have been replaced by other vehicle types have been obtained from the Federal government surplus property programs and converted for wildland , and structural firefighting use.Humvee are also utilized as search and rescue unit vehicles. Some fire fighters and departments have found the Humvee to be a less than ideal vehicle for any type of emergency services use because of its small equipment carrying capacity and high maintenance costs. The process for obtaining built for the military and commercial off the shelf trucks from the Federal Government for to conversion wildland firefighting usually now involves the FEPP Federal Excess Property Program. The trucks title is transferred to the U.S. Forest Service and that agency retains title . The vehicle is transferred to the state forestry department which then sub loans it to the local fire department or retains it for its own use . The agency operating the vehicle is responsible for the maintenance and operating expenses of it. Some military surplus trucks built as tanker trucks to haul water or fuel for the military do not have the gross vehicle weight rating sufficient to allow them to operate as a water tanker for firefighting especially when firefighting equipment is added . These vehicles may need to have the tank removed and replaced with one of lower weight and carrying capacity as part of the conversion to fire apparatus. Several rollover incidents resulting in injuries or deaths have resulted from surplus tanker trucks with unsafe gross vehicle weight ratings. The Federal government regularly releases general purpose trucks suitable for conversion to fire apparatus and fire apparatus for reuse that a fire department may be able to obtain another 10 to 20 years of use out of. As a direct purchase, not through FEPP, Harris County Texas obtained a 1999 Freightliner box truck from the Federal Government. The county replaced the cargo compartment with a command center for the Public Infrastructure Department. The center is used by department staff to manage the departments services at incidents including large scale rerouting of traffic and work with other agencies involved in handling the incident. In 2004 the Washington State Department of Natural Resources obtained, through the FEPP, a 1986 Volvo/White dumpster hauling truck from the U.S. Navy . The truck was obtained for and sub-loaned to the Pend Oreille District 3. The truck was converted into a brush truck. In 2005 the Iowa Forest Service ,obtained through FEPP, a 1988 International 4X4 model 1854 dump truck from the U.S. Air Force. The truck was obtained for and sub-loaned to the Stanley , Iowa Volunteer Fire Department . The dump bed was removed and replaced with a flatbed. Truck was converted into a tanker truck to supply water for structural and wildland fires. The water tank carried on the truck was also obtained through the FEPP program

One source of apparatus is converting older equipment of the fire department or obtained from other fire departments to new uses. In 1916 the Honolulu, Hawaii Fire Department converted in 1916 some still fairly new steam tractors once used for towing fire apparatus into fire apparatus by removing the chemical tanks formerly carried on the steam powered fire engines the tractors once towed . In 1976 the City of Fresno converted a 20 year old fire engine into a tanker truck that served the fire department for another 30 years .The practice of converting older apparatus to new uses has declined with changes in NFPA and insurance regulations often not making conversions permissible or cost effective to perform. Apparatus have come from other agencies surplus vehicles. The first incident response unit of the Hazardous Materials Team of the Henrico County Division of Fire was the former bookmobile of the county library system. The 1974 built vehicle was de-selected from the auction list at the request of the firefighters who were forming the team in 1981 and converted by firefighters to serve the team. It served for 10 years and was sold to a private sector owner before being bought by an apparatus collector in the county. The apparatus has been restored to its HazMat team appearance and is regularly brought to firefighting related events in Central Virginia. Peach County, Georgia has a brush truck converted from a City of Fort Valley garbage truck that had the refuse handling compartment replaced on the chassis with a firefighting equipment compartment. In 1997 the Fort Ellis Fire and Rescue Department of Gallatin County, Montana purchased a International 4 X 4 Dump Truck from a government agency in the State of Washington . Truck was converted into a tender truck and served the department for 11 years. Rehab units are used by firefighters to cool down, rehydrate, and rest between rotations of actively working the incident scene. In 2005,the Southern Manatee District of Manatee County , Florida converted a former county mass transit bus into its rehab unit instead of purchasing a purpose built vehicle at much higher cost. In some instances apparatus are transferred to non fire fighting agencies for conversion to specialized work trucks with or without modifications to the firefighting equipment compartment. The city of Bedford, Virginia used a 1927 Seagrave fire engine from the 1960s to the 1980s as the backup pump unit at the city reservoir. The restored truck is now one of the main artifacts in the City of Bedfords museum. Some jurisdictions have converted older fire engines to work trucks for various agencies by removing the fire apparatus part and placing work truck equipment on the chassis. In January of 1993 Highland Park, NJ converted a former fire engine to a dump truck by replacing the apparatus part with a dump bed. In 1959 Marysville, Michigan converted a 1920 American LaFrance engine into a road grader to be used by the Department of Public Works. In 1979 the Mulvane, Kansas Emergency Services Department removed the fire truck body from the departments 1953 Ford F-750 truck and turned the truck over to the road maintenance department for further use . In 2003 the City of Sonora, California transferred a fire engine built in 1966 by Van Pelt Inc to the Public Works Department for use as water tender. Mobile homes and office trailers have been converted into incident command posts and mobile training devices, cargo trailers have been modified into mobile training props, a variety of types of surplus property obtained from all levels of government have been used to make training props. Generators, Communications equipment, generators and fire hydrants are also obtained from surplus property programs and reused by fire departments,