Jan Scheele found probably the biggest piece of apparatus we've seen built on a Willys MB platform, restored by a club in Stavanger, Norway. Originally built in 1947 by Kronenburg in Holland, it was bought in 1950 by the community of Strand in the town of Jørpeland, Norway, where it was used until 1977.
See also a front view photo (130K JPEG) which makes the bronze 1500 liter/min. Kronenburg pump look huge on the little jeep.
This jeep was never likely in service, but was dreamed up for the Yipao parade in Calarcá, Colombia. The photo was taken in 2006, and a 2005 photo shows the same Jeep from the left side (200K JPEG). See also more photos from the Yipao Festival in Calarcá on The CJ3B Page.
This postcard from the collection of Gary Urbanowicz shows the Williamsburg, Virginia FD. Gary puts the date at probably the early 1960's.
Apparently the department had switched to a white livery for its new apparatus, but hadn't repainted the older trucks -- with the exception of their little jeep which looks like a surplus Willys MB. It still has red canvas which makes it look very sharp. Beside it in the front row is a Jeep Forward Control which is probably one of the newest vehicles in the photo.
Wayne Ellard photographed this Willys MB on display in Australia in 2006. It had been used briefly by the Blaxland Volunteer Bushfire Brigade in New South Wales, established in the 1950's with support from the Blue Mountain Council. The jeep was already fairly ancient when the Brigade obtained it in February 1967 to serve as a personnel carrier (40K JPEG) and to pull a tank trailer (40K JPEG) with gas-driven pump, as a second attack unit. The jeep was replaced only two years later by a short wheelbase ex-army Land Rover.
Also in Australia, an early apparatus photo (50K JPEG) of the Sutherland Rural Fire Service in Australia shows a jeep among their military surplus equipment (photo courtesy of the Headquarters/Heathcote Brigade.)
Although I've seen references to the use of jeeps as fire engines during World War II, several 1940's U.S. military fire apparatus manuals (collected by Portrayal Press in the publication U.S. Army Fire Trucks at War) do not mention the use of jeeps. There were trailer-mounted pumps (40K JPEG) built by Hale Fire Pump Co. and other manufacturers, but James G. Davis, who served in a WW II Army Engineer Fire Fighting Platoon that had both Jeeps and Class 1000 Trailer Mounted Fire Fighting Pumpers (TMFFPs), comments that "From personal experience I can tell you the jeep was not suitable to tow the Class 1000. There was a limitation of 1000 pounds as a towed load for the jeep while the Class 1000 weighed 3500 pounds."
U.S. military fire trucks were all painted olive drab rather than red, and Jim adds, "Our jeeps (OD, of course) mounted a red light and small siren and carried a few extinguishers and hand tools, but were scarcely what one would call a fire fighting vehicle."
Elsewhere on the web, see WWII Fire & Crash Trucks for details on U.S. military fire trucks, and ordering information for James Davis' book Fire Fighters In Fatigues: The 1204th Engineer Fire Fighting Platoon, A History.
A September 1944 advertisement for Walter Kidde & Company (in Popular Science) shows an example of the wartime jeep carrying extinguishers. The text in the full page ad (150K JPEG) reads: "Coast Guard airports find a new job for the versatile jeep. They've manned it with asbestos-clad fire-fighters, loaded it with Kidde carbon dioxide extinguishers. This tough little 'fire engine' can rush right up to crash-fires or other blazes, hit them hard and fast with fire-smothering carbon dioxide gas."
Thanks to Brian Gough for finding the ad.
Most Willys MB or Ford GPW jeeps seen in red are postwar surplus conversions, which although common in Europe, were less so in North America, where new CJ-2A's were more available. But this 1945 MB was used in Ogunquit, Maine. It was sold in 2004 by Army Jeep Parts in Pennsylvania.
Plumbing from the water tank to the front-mounted pump and back to the booster reel, runs outside on both sides of the jeep, where the suction hose is also jury-rigged. See a front view (40K JPEG.)
A shot of the L-head engine (80K JPEG) also gives a good look at the siren installed on the left side of the jeep (60K JPEG).
A interior photo (80K JPEG) reveals that just about everything, including the steering wheel, got painted when the jeep was sprayed red. A rear view (60K JPEG) shows a nice job of lettering the name of the town, which is on the southern coast of Maine.
Like many surplus MB's in Europe, this 1944 Willys MB belonging to Ola Svensson of Sweden was converted for the fire service following the war. This jeep came to Sweden as surplus in 1946 and served in the
Brandstorps fire station in Hjo. It had a pump installed at the front, and pulled a trailer with a 500-liter water tank. The photo taken at a military vehicles show appeared in the 2001 calendar of the Willys Jeep Klubb of Sweden.
Here's a French conversion in the enclosed hose wagon style that is more traditional in Europe than North America. I don't have any details on this particular piece of apparatus; the photo is courtesy of Francois Chevestrier, from Old Woodies.
In St. Joäo da Madera, Portugal this MB is classified as a Command Car, but the full brush cage and extra lighting suggest it sees some off-road use. Photo by J.M. Tomàs. See Historical Fire Engines Europe for more Willys Jeeps in Portugal.
This photo by Michel Voogd also comes from Historical Fire Engines Europe, and was taken in Peyrehorade in the southwest corner of France.
And one more from that website appears to be a French Hotchkiss M201, but the location is unknown. The photographer is identified only as Pat.
There are a number of toys based on French fire jeeps -- see Willys MB Fire Jeep Toys on The CJ3B Page.
Thanks to Wayne Ellard, George Baxter of Army Jeep Parts, Terry Clark, Johan Sundberg, Adriaan Kriek and Brian Gough. -- Derek Redmond
See The First Civilian Fire Jeep, a 1945 CJ-2 Agrijeep.
Return to Fire Service Jeeps on The CJ3B Page.
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