Former Orange County, California Crowns still providing fire protection in three very different locations

1964 Crown pumper, ex-Orange Co., CA. still doing the job with volunteer fire department in Argentina

(The complete version of this article with many more photos appeared in the December, 2009 issue of the CFE Newsletter. You say you don't get that (color version by email; B&W verison by U.S. Mail)? It's one of the benefits of being a club member (click on the "membership" button to the left on this page).

Many old Crowns never die, they just go on to new careers providing fire protection in far away places, across the nation, and in a few cases, across the world. Shown in the photo above is Crown Firecoach S/N F1372, a 1965 pumper that ran as 9222 with the Orange County, CA, F.D. at the Laguna Hills station during the late 60s and 1970s (see photo below).

Through this website, I (the webmaster) received an email from Mauricio Yannucci, a volunteer fireman in the town of Firmat, in the province of Santa Fe, in Argentina (South America). The email was written in Spanish and included several photos of this Crown pumper. Maurico said in his email that their Crown was an excellent machine and still in service at their headquarters station.

I wrote back to Mauricio in Spanish and asked him if he could confirm the serial number and shop number. I told some of the history of the rig and also sent several photos of how the Firecoach had looked when it was with Orange County Fire. I also told him it had been sold at auction in 1992 and asked how long his department had owned it and how they got it.

Mauricio replied back saying he was very surprised to have found someone who knew about their Crown and even more surprised to receive photos of it from its early days. He said the pumper was purchased in 1992 and donated to the department by businessman. He sent along photos of the builders plate confirming the serial number of F1372 and even the gold shop number "5148" still on the windshield.

CFE member Dave Hubert recalls "Crown engine 9222, (5148) was my first duty engine, when I was transferred to Laguna Hills in 1969 as a Fireman. My seat was #2 (right behind the engineer)....Engineer Rick Malsack taught me how to drive & pump on that rig, The silver (painted) rings on the rims, I did."

1966 Crown pumper used to protect ranch during major southern California wildfire in fall of 2009

Above is Crown Firecoach S/N F1450, former Orange County FD shop 5160, a 1966 1250/500 pumper. CFE member Randy Marsile, who is the Fire Management Program manager for Southern California Edison, and formerly an apparatus engineer wih the Orange County Fire Authority, writes: "While I was working on setting up Edison's Fire Camp in Big Tujunga Canyon, to rebuild our electrical system that was devastated in the Station Fire (September 2009), we leased a 10 acre ranch that had a lot of horse corrals, barns, and trailer homes. As I was driving the property I found a Crown parked near one of the homes. It looked familiar, like a old Orange County rig. As I examined the rig a came up with a VIN and called Don Croucher and he confirmed that it was old ORC Engine 21, 221, 223, etc. It is very weathered but the property caretaker stated it saved his house (a double wide mobile home) during the Station Fire. The numbers all over the engine are the old ORCO vehicle (shop) number, "5160."

The photo below was taken by Chuck Madderom at Orange County Fire Station 21 in Tustin, CA, and shows what S/N F1450 looked like in the mid 1970s when it was in service as Engine 9121.

1970 Ford/Crown, ex-Orange Co., CA. serving Utah volunteer fire department

Pictured is Crown Firecoach S/N F1658 which currently serves the Virgin Volunteer Fire Department in Utah. This 1970 Ford 900 series tilt-cab-over-engine pumper has a 750 GPM Waterous pump and 500 gallon tank. It was one of three identical units originally purchased by Orange County, California. This unit was first assigned to the Trabuco Canyon volunteer station as 9218 along with it's twin sister rig 9118 (S/N F1659), seen below in a mid-1970s photo. F1658 later served as E40 in Coto De Caza. It was sold at public auction in the early 1990s.

The photo above is from the Flickr page of phil/las, aka Matthew Goldberg of Henderson, NV, an avid fire service photographer. Click on the above photo to go to his Flickr page and see more of his photos of this rig and others.