Historic Water Carrying Truck Bows Out

Historic Water Carrying Truck Bows Out

One of the first water carrying fire trucks in the Rocky Mountain area, known affectionately as “Old No. 2,” of the Salt Lake County Fire Department has rolled to its last county blaze. After 19 years of service with the county fire force, the “dream truck” of two Utah men is retired with honors.

The colorful history of the old unit, which has seen action at every major blaze in the county since it was built, goes back to 1931 when hire Chief Jack Clay and the late Frank L. Olsen designed it.

At that time, according to Chief Clay, who became County Fire Chief in 1929, “Old No. 2 was only a dream. No fire truck in the Rocky area carried water, and eastern manufacturers scoffed at thoughts of such a machine.” Fire trucks of the area were equipped with chemicals, which were generally used until they gave place to the water booster tank.

“Until the truck was built,” Chief Clay said, “firemen would have to stand and watch a building burn to the ground unless the fire was caught in its early stages. Fire trucks at that time were equipped with pumps, but in most regions of the county water was so scarce pumps were useless.”

The county’s fire station, at Murray, Utah, now boasts the very latest in water-carrying fire fighting units—a $28,000 cab model, but old timers will continue to speak reverently of “Old No. 2.”

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