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Celebrating 25 Years of the Crown Firecoach Enthusiasts Club
CFE Annual Member Banquet - April 5
Save the date - Saturday April 5, 2014 at 12 noon we will hold our annual membership banquet. The loction is Marie Callender's Restaurant & Bakery, 2149 E. Convention Center Way, Ontario, CA 91764, adjacent to the I-10 freeway. See the Calendar page for menu and reservation info. and directions to the restaurant. There is ample parking and we will have an area in the parking lot for those who may wish to bring and display thier rigs.
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the club, our speaker for this year's CFE Banquet will be Don Croucher, who has been part of CFE since the very beginning. He wil talk about how the idea for CFE came about, the formation of the club and it's first members, and other stories of the early days of the club. Of course, we will have a special raffle with some really nice items. And there will be a couple of surprises as well! So come and join us (if you are not a club member you can join on the spot, or why wait - fill out the membership application and join now!)
CFE members who attended the February 2, 2014 Meeting in Ontario gathered afterward for a group photo on the occassion of the 25th Anniversary year of the founding of the club. We posed in front of member Mike McDonald's newly restored 1973 International/Van Pelt Pumper, ex Fallbrook, CA. (Click on photo for a larger version).
CFE Mourns the Passing of Member Bill Speeg
We are saddened at the passing of Crown Firecoach Enthusiast member Bill Speeg of Valley Center, CA, who died of a heart attack on February 12, 2014, while training for the Oceanside Ironman triathlon. Bill was the owner of a 1966 Crown pumper, F1450, ex Orange County FD, pictured below at the CFE Pump-In in 2003. Bill was a past Regional Director of the All-American Soap Box Derby, a member of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America and the Indian Motorcycle Club, and a Amateur Radio Operator (KJ6AUX). Services for Bill were held on Friday, February 22, 2014 in Oceanside, CA. Bill Speeg's brother-in-Law is Brad Stump (owner of F1348, 1964 ex Montebello/x-Apple Valley Crown pumper and F1508, 1969, ex-Compton, CA Crown/Snorkel). Click here to read Bill's complete obituary and visit a memorial page.
- Changes in CFE Board of Directors -
At the November, 2013 CFE Meeting, CFE President Birtt announced that after reviewing the club Bylaws, and discussion with both Ron Dierkens and Don Beckwith, Ron has assumed the role of Past President. Don Beckwith had been acting as the Past President, although he was actually the "previous" past president. However, the bylaws only provide for the "immediate" past president to be a member of the board. This change removed Don Beckwith as a votiing member of the CFE Board. Also at the November meeting, Don Croucher stepped down as both a Director and CFE Historian/Archivist. Don also stepped down as President of the California Fire Museum. Don will remain active in both organizations (he is a life-member of CFE) but in less time-consuming roles as he and wife Cindi prepare to move to a smaller home and spend more time enjoying retirement. President Britt then appointed Don Beckwith to the Director position left vacant by Don Croucher, returning Beckwith to a voting position on the board. At the same time Beckwith was appointed to the postion of Meeting Coordinator, a task he has actually been doing in an unofficial capacity for several years.
Following the conclusion of the February, 2014 CFE meeting, David Stienitz stepped down from his postion as a Director at Large on the CFE board. David currently spends much time on the east coast due to his job and his capacity as a board memebr of a fire museum in Maryland and is unable to attend a majority of CFE meetings as a result. He remains an active CFE member. President Britt has appointed Terri Conrad to fill out the Director at Large postion previously held by Stienitz.
In November of 2014, elections will be held for all six Director postions on the CFE Board, including the two mid-term replacements mentioned above.
Photos from the Sept. 14, 2013 CFE Meeting in Idyllwild, CA
Click on the photo above to see images of the rigs at Idyllwild FPD on 14 Sept 2013
Thanks to the Idyllwild Fire Protection Distric and Fire Chief Reitz for allowing our group to meet at their fire station and having thier rigs on display. Special thanks to Hewy Wick and Kevin Johnson for setting up this great meeting location. And thanks to Hewy and Ruth Wick for bringing their ex LAFD Mack Heavy Utility, Dodge squad and ALF ladder truck for static display, playing host and making arrangements for a great lunch after the meeting! The weather was great, the food was great and the people were great too!
Special 2013 Summer Board Meeting Results
On August 25, 2013, members of the CFE board, along with several general club members, met in Ontario, CA, to discuss two matters regarding CFE club owned apparatus. One was a request by club member Mike McDonald to have legal ownership of the NCF 1971 Crown pumper transferred to him. The second was a request by the California Fire Museum to transfer caretakership of the 1963 Crown Snorkel to them.
On the matter of the NCF Crown, all votes were in favor of transfering ownership of the NCF Crown to Mike McDonald. This will allow fullfillment of the original terms of the donation agreement by North County Fire District (Fallbrook, CA), which require that the Crown be repainted and restored, which is not in the CFE budget. Also, it has been costing the club approx $900/yr in storage fees, which is a big drain on our budget. These costs and liabilities will now be assumed by Mr. McDonald who hopes to have restoration of this Crown completed before the end of the year.
On the matter of T46, all votes were in favor of Doug Hammer remaining as the caretaker of T46. It was found that CFE is currently and has always been in compliance with all terms of the 1998 OCFA donation agreement and the current caretaker is doing an excellent job.
In addition to T46, the Crown Firebus is the only other apparatus now owned by CFE.
Crown Firecoach Rescue & Salvage Squads
From the 1950s to the 1970s, Crown made a dozen utility and squad vehicles classified as rescue, heavy rescue, salvage or heavy utility units. They included squad boxes mounted to conventional chassis and custom Firecoach buildups. Pictured above is Firecoach serial number F1099, which was a 1957 GMC which ran as Squad 2 with the Orange City Fire Department in California. Click on the phto to see the full article about the Squads produced by Crown.
Mike Adams - 1947-2013
Former CFE member, Mike Adams, of Burt, MI, has passed away. Mike was a member of more than one chapter of SPAAMFAA. He was the President of Saginaw Valley Antique Fire Apparatus Association and Curator of the Dobson Fire House Museum and a past Albee Township (MI) Fire Chief, Trustee and Clerk. In 1993 he purchased a yellow 1961 Crown Firecoach pumper (F1265, originally from Covina, CA) and owned it for a number of years before selling it to current owner Dave Getschman also of MI, who was a good friend of Mike Adams. The Crown (seen below) is well known and recognized in the muster circuit and parades in the Great Lakes region. You can read Mike's obituary here.
Another Great CFE Banquet!
We had a good turnout for the 2013 CFE banquet on Saturday March 2, held at the Claim Jumper restaurant in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. The food and service were excellent! President Britt presented a slide show of all the Crowns he had located "South of the border" from Mexico to Argentina. Our guest speaker, retired Crown Coach engineer Frank Bertholet presented an interesting talk about his life coming to the United States as a Dutch immigrant after WWII and working at Crown Coach, both on buses and on Firecoaches. For those who could not attend, we made a video and are working on an edited digital version which we hope can be shared here soon. After the banquet we held a raffle and some members took home some very nice "loot."
Results of CFE Election held November 3, 2012
The election for the Directors at Large postions on the CFE Board were held at the November, 2012 membership meeting in Escondido, CA. Incumbant Board Members Mark Bramm, Don Croucher, Mike McDonald and David Stienitz were re-elected to their Director positions, and we would like to welcome newly elected board members Brian Grimes and Kevin Johnson. The new directors take office January 1, 2013, and all six directors serve a two year term (2013-2014).
CFE Mourns the Passing of three of our charter members in 2012: Larry Arnold (January), Mike Palmer (July) and Ray Chambers (August)
Ray Chamber, Charter Member of the Crown Firecoach Enthusiasts
We are sad to announce the passing on 8 August 2012 of Ray Chambers. Ray was a founding member of CFE and long-time member of the Box 15 Club of Los Angeles, IFBA, and the Long Beach Fire Museum. His wife Shirley tells us Ray passed away after a short stay at a care home in La Mirada.
Ray was a passionate fire buff and apparatus photographer for many decades. The helmet collection and badge collections on display at the Long Beach FD Museum came from Ray's very large personal collection. The Crown Firecoach lists you see in books and on the web have Ray partly to thank for their existence, because he was the first one to organize info from the Crown factory as well as from several well-known fire apparauts photographers and put it all on a computer and cross reference the data and put it all together in the "Crown Bible" that we use in the archives to quickly look up specs on any Crown.
Services for Ray Chambers were held on Thursday Aug. 16, 2012, at Rose Hills memorial Park. Don Croucher spoke at the service and several CFE members were in attendance.
Mike Palmer, CDF and OCFD, ret. and CFE Member
We are sad to announce the passing on 25 July 2012 of retired Riverside County Volunteer FF and Orange County Fire Department Fire Captain Mike Palmer. Mike was a long time member of the Crown Firecoach Enthusiasts club/Southern California Chapter of SPAAMFAA.
Mike had been in poor health recently and succumbed to his serious illnesses this morning, according to an email sent out by Riverside County FD/CALFIRE Riverside Unit Fire Chief John R. Hawkins
Mike started his Fire Service career as a Seasonal Firefighter for CDF in the San Diego Unit at the Warner Springs Station promoting through the ranks to Captain with the Orange County Fire Department (pre-OCFA). At the time of his retirement he was captain of ORC E6 at the old OCFD South Laguna station. Mike was extremely active in the El Cariso Community, and a volunteer for RVC Station 51, as well as working in many aspects with the Fire Service Community, and the Forest Service Community. Among his many contributions, he worked teaching firefighting skills to at risk/incarcerated youth at the Joplin Boy's Ranch and was involved in the California Wildland Firefighter Memorial, serving on the Board of Directors. He was the proud owner of more than one Crown Firecoach pumper which he restored to show status and also used on more than one occasion to protect his and neighbors properties from wildland fires in his remote canyon home.
Please keep Mike's family in your thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. Services are pending and will be announced when we have the details. For the latest info, follow us on Facebook at Crown Firecoach Fire Appratus, or check this website.
Mike was a tremendous individual, and a long CFE supporter, coordinating and working many of our early Pump-Ins at the Orange Empire Railway Museum. He will be greatly missed.
Services for Mike Palmer were held on Friday, August 17th at the California Wildland Firefighters’ Memorial, on the Ortega Highway above Lake Elsionre, near El Cariso. Don Croucher spoke at the service and several CFE members were in attendance.
- Change in CFE Board of Directors -
On June 29, 2012, Ron Dierkens announced his resignation as President of the Crown Firecoach Enthusiasts, effective July 1, 2012. Then Vice President Mike Britt has assumed the position of President. CFE member Jim Conrad has been appointed to fill the position of Vice President, confirmed by an email vote of the board, since this occurred between regular board meetings. The current term of the executive officers of the CFE Board of Directors ends on December 31, 2013. The election for the Directors will be held at the November, 2012, with nominations open at the September meeting.
The Crowns of TVs "Rescue 911"
© By Mike Britt, CFE President & Webmaster
Rescue 911 was an informational reality-based TV series that aired from April, 1989 to August, 1996. The series was hosted by actor William Shatner and featured reenactments (and occasionally real footage) of emergency situations that involved phone calls to 9-1-1.
The location for the filming of most of Shatner's introduction to each episode segment was the Central Net Training Center and adjacent Huntington Beach (CA) Fire Department Gothard Station. At the time of the series, this was also the location of the Central Net (originally known as Net 6) Dispatch Center, and about half of Shatner's introductory scenes were filmed inside the main dispatch room. Other segments were filmed inside or outside the rear of the fire station or FD maintenance shop, around the drill tower, and in the adjacent Huntington Beach P.D. air operations division, where a PD helicopter was rolled out on a dolly for the filming.
For the main backdrops, the producers staged reserve Crown pumpers, reserve medic vans, reserve BC Suburbans, police cars and even ambulances from the former Med Trans Ambulance Company. To minimize interference with the center's daily operations, the Shatner segments were filmed in the evening, at dusk or after dark. Sometimes the firefighters would wash down the "set" so the wet pavement would produce deep reflections of the units with their code 3 lights on. During one season late in the series, the rear of Glendale (CA) FDs Headquarters station was used to film some of Shatner Introductions. These shots also featured a Crown, Glendale's 1979, 50-ft Telesqurt, serial number F1803.
The two Crowns used in the introduction segments filmed in Huntington Beach were sister 1967 Firecoach pumpers, F1496 and F1497, which at that time were reserve rigs for the department. Most often seen was F1497, which early in the series ran as "HE 58" which stood for "Huntington Engine 58," the designator for Central Net's old Computer-Aided-Dispatch software. This engine became "HTB E245" when the department adopted "HTB," its official ICS (Incident Command System) designator developed by California FIRESCOPE for the statewide fire and rescue mutual aid system.
One interesting thing to observe in the segments where the Crowns and other apparatus appear in the background is the various efforts used to cover up the names of the cities and FD emblems on the doors of the rigs, especially in close up shots. Large prop magnetic sheets were used to cover the HB logo on the doors. These read 'Emergency 9-1-1 Fire Rescue Police." They were patterned after the actual 9-1-1- placards used on emergency vehicles at the time, but custom made in large oval shapes for the show for the purpose of covering apparatus doors. However, these could not cover the name "Huntington Beach" so various methods of applying black tape to cover the gold lettering were used, sometimes covering the entire top of the top, sometimes just in strips, and sometimes just covering sleeted letters of the name.
(A complete photo album of Crowns in RESCUE 911 will be added shortly)
- Recent Club News -
Photos from the May 2012 CFE Meeting
at the Fire Memories Museum in Beaumont, CA
Photos from the 2012 CFE Pump-In
Photos from the January 2012 CFE Meeting
at the L.A.F.D. Museum in Hollywood, CA
Our first meeting of 2012 was held at the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Soceity's Hollywood Museum at old Fire Station 27, home of many antique former L.A.F.D. fire apparatus.The LAFD Hollywood Museum is home to W17 (below), Crown S/N F1338, LAFD shop #60157, a unique 1963, 2000 gpm high pressure manifold wagon. Click on the photo of W17 to see more photos from the LAFD Station 27 Museum and the CFE meeting.
For the CFE meeting, club member Randy Simon brought Crown Firecoach S/N F-1671, a 1972 triple-combination pumper, former LAFD shop 60264, which once served as P27. It is shown below in-service as P27 parked in front of old L.A.F.D. Fire Station 27, which is now the L.A.F.D. Hollywood Museum (Photo by CFE member Chuck Madderom). At least eight different Crowns were assigned to Station 27 over the years. Click on the photo of P27 below to see more of Station 27's Crowns.
LAFD Station 27 as well as the first Crown to be assigned as P27 (a 1955 Firecoach, LAFD Shop 757), are featured in a 1966 Beach Boys Promotional Film for the band's hit song "Good Vibrations." The video is from The Beach Boys "Pet Sounds" 40th Anniversary DVD and can be seen on YouTube by clicking on the photo below. The Crown is first seen at 1 min 30 sec into the video.
Lawrence W. Arnold - 1924-2012
Larry Arnold, a Charter Member of the Crown Firecoach Enthusiasts, died of pancreatic cancer on Monday, January 16, at home with his family. In addition to CFE, Larry was a long-time member of the Box 15 Club of Los Angeles, the California Chapter of SPAAMFAA, national SPAAMFA and numerous other fire service and historical groups. He was an avid fire apparatus photographer and fire apparatus enthusiast and with his sons Chris and Rick, owned and restored the first Crown Firecoach ever built, F-1001, from West Covina F.D.
Larry is survived by his wife of 63 years, Ruth; their sons Christopher (Annamarie) and Richard (Dawn), Granddaughters Maureen (Richard) and Jennifer; and Grandsons Stephen, Daniel (Katie), Michael, Kenneth, and John. A memorial service was held on Monday, January 23 at the San Gabriel First United Methodist Church, with interment at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier.
Larry Arnold (center) with sons Rick (L) and Chris (R) with F1001 in 1984.
RESULTS OF NOVEMBER 2011 ELECTION
At the November 20, 2011 CFE meeting, held at Culver City Fire Station 3, elections were held for the officer positions of President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Treasurer and Membership Secretary. (The six "Director at Large" positions on the CFE board will be up for relection at the end of 2012).
The incumbant officers were all re-elected, with the exception of Mike Britt, who was elected as the new Vice President in place of Doug Hammer who requested to step down from his executive officer position due to his increased responsibilities as President of the Fire Memories Museum. However, Doug agreed to stay on the board in a lessor role, and so after the results of the election were made official, CFE President Ron Dierkens appointed Doug Hammer to fill out the remainder of Mike Britt's term as a Director at Large (which he vacated to become Vice President). The new positions became effective on January 1, 2012. Click here for a list of the current (2010) CFE board of directors.
60th Anniversary of the Firecoach