SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHAPTER, SOCIETY FOR THE PRESERVATION AND APPRECIATION OF ANTIQUE MOTOR FIRE APPARATUS IN AMERICA

Apparatus Feature

Crowns of the Redlands

Fire Department

By Mike Britt

Redlands, CA, located in the Inland Empire in San Bernardino County, purchased three Crown Firecoaches which are still owned by the city. In 1975, the Redlands Fire Department took delivery of this Crown Firecoach aerial truck (S/N F1728) equipped with a 100 foot, rear-mounted Maxim ladder. Truck 751 (later known as RED T261) was in front-line service for 23 years until it was replaced by a Seagrave quint in 1998. Today, this Crown continues to serve as the department's reserve truck. Just before it went into reserve status, the department spent some $80-90K to have the ladder taken apart and a bent fly replaced. "RED" is the California OES-Firescope RDS designator for Redlands FD and 261 is the department’s San Bernardino County designator. Photo by Mike Britt
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The photos at left and right show the 1975 Crown ladder truck on the day it was delivered to the Redlands HQQ fire station.

Compare the 1975 appearance of the truck to the 1996 photo above. In the late 1970s, the original front wheels were replaced with the wider diameter wheels to provide more stability and better weight distribution. The original rounded Federal Beaconray "Superbeacon" lights on top of the cab had four lamps per light and oscillated back and forth. In the early 80s, the truck was working at a major packing house fire and the radiant heat melted the lenses and damaged the mechanism beyond repair. The original "gumball" style rounded lights were replaced by the ones seen on the cab today. Like the originals, these have an oscillating pattern. (Photos courtesy of California Fire Museum)

Standing on the turntable of the new Crown aerial truck is then Redlands Fire Cheif Joe Budd and possibly the Crown salesman. Standing behind the cab is firefighter Tom Boburt. (Photo courtesy of California Fire Museum)
All the way at the top of the "stick" on the new 1975 Crown ladder truck is Redlands fireman (now retired FD engineer) Mack Mitchell. The other firefighter atop the ladder and the one in the foreground are unidentified. (Photo courtesy of California Fire Museum)
Above, in 1999, CFE member Mike Britt's photo (above) of the Redlands Crown ladder truck parked on Colton Ave. (in front of the University of Redlands) was used by Choice Marketing in their Crown Firecoach trading card series (these can still be found for sale on-line). In 1975, this Crown replace a mid-mount, 75-foot Seagrave ladder truck that was on an International truck chasis. The 1975 Crown is now the department's reserve truck. (Photo by Mike Britt)
Shown above is Redlands FD’s 1969 Crown pumper (S/N F1592). It is powered by a Cummins Diesel, has a Spicer 5-speed manual transmission, 1250 gpm pump, high pressure booster pump and 500 gallon water tank. It served as Redlands Engine 1 (731) from 1969 to 1981 and Engine 2 (732, E262) from 1981-88 when it became a reserve (E261R). Above left, the rig as it looked when in service as Engine 2. The white fiberglass top and lightbar were later additions by the department. (Photo by Chuck Madderom). Above right, the 1969 Firecoach as it looks today as a parade engine. During 2005, the 1969 pumper was restored to its open-cab “delivery” appearance, a project led by CFE member and Redlands FD Engineer Ralph Serrano. Redlands Fire Mechanic Nick Lozano and retired Engineer Mack Mitchell assisted in the restoration, while CFE members Mike Britt, Bill Irving, Darrell Gilbert, and Don Jarvis all contributed parts for the restoration effort (Photo by Mike Britt).
The above pictured widebody model Firecoach (S/N F1855) is a 1981 pumper and was the last Crown purchased by Redlands F. D. It has a 1500 GPM pump, 500 gal tank, a booste pump connected to two high pressure booster reels, and Stang monitor. It was delivered with a Cummins diesel and manual transmission. When first put in service, it ran as Engine 1 out of the central station along with the 1975 Crown ladder truck. The department will continue to use it as a reserve engine until at least mid-2007 when two new Seagrave pumpers are to be delivered. In August 2006, it underwent to major overhall and had its front and rear suspension realigned, kingpins replaced and steering rods repaired. It then had a new clutch installed and pump valve problems repaired. (Photo by Mike Britt).



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