The Last "Fire Boss"...
1969, the Seattle Fire Department ordered FIVE new Kenworth pumpers, and
aerial ladder trucks, pulled by Kenworth tractors.
Of the FIVE engines, two were equipped with 3000-GPM "Stang" monitors,
two were standard
pumpers, and ONE was equipped with a 1500 pound "Fire
Boss" Super-K dry chemical unit.
Each of the five pumpers was
equipped with a 1750-GPM pump and 400 gallon water tank and
by a 350 h.p. eight-cylinder Detroit Diesel engine, with an Allison
six speed semi-automatic transmission.
This final "Fire Boss" unit joined five others purchased
previously in 1967, bringing the total
to SIX, positioned
strategically throughout the city. These units were capable of
pounds of "Super-K" dry-chemical extinguishing
agent through a fixed turret, mounted behind
the truck cab, or
through two 150' 1" rubber hose lines, mounted on reels. The
intent of these
units was the extinguishment of large flammable liquid
fires, such as gasoline tankers, or
The practice of firefighters riding tail-boards of engine companies and
of ladder trucks was as old as the fire service
itself. This practice started in the horse-drawn
era, and lasted
well into the 1980's. But after the tragic death of a Seattle
in 1984, fell from the tailboard of an engine company while responding
to an alarm, the SFD
took steps to reverse this
century-old trend and relocate firefighters into "crew-cabs" where
could ride in relative safety.
The first attempts at this proved successful. By removing the Dry
Chemical systems, the
"Fire Boss" units had ample room for fabricating
crew-cabs and access to the crew-cab area.
The first rig to be
retro-fitted with a crew-cab was returned to its regular company
on October 31, 1986 ... the company was Engine 5 on Seattle's
waterfront and the rig was
Because of limited space, some of the older engines presented more of a
designers, but regardless, by 1990, subsequent retro-fits
were completed, bringing the total
to 16, as well as 15 other engine
companies that were ordered with crew-cabs as standard
Since that time, all fire engines have been manufactured with enclosed
for the entire crew ... a nationwide safety standard.
App 319 remains an example of the Seattle Fire Department's innovative
provide improved safety for firefighter crews, even before
crew-cabs became mandatory.
Historical Photos . . .
with original "Fire Boss" unit (Engine 5) 1973-1986
App 319 with "Fire Boss" turret in raised position
(Engine 5) 1973-1986
App 319 with original "Fire Boss" unit (Engine 5) 1984
App 319 with Crew-Cab (Engine 5) 1987
"Fire Boss" demonstration - Seattle Fire Department
Turret and both hand-lines in operation
~ Apparatus 319 Company Assignments ~
1970 - 1973
Engine 27 - 1000 S Myrtle St
1973 - 1986
Engine 5 - 925 Alaskan Way
1986 - 1986
In shop for modifications / crew cab
1986 - 1987
Engine 5 - 925 Alaskan Way
1987 - 1992
Engine 31 - 1319 N Northgate Way
1992 - 2004
2004 . . . .
~ The Stations ~
SFD Fire Station #27 (1970-present)
App 319 (Engine 27) 1970-1973
SFD Fire Station #5 (1963-2014)
App 319 (Engine 5) 1973-1987
SFD Fire Station #31 (1975-present)
App 319 (Engine 31) 1987-1992