Unit : Unit 708
Year : 1974
Model : IMPERIAL 450 GPM
1974 FORD F-800
IMPERIAL 450 GPM
Retired January 1994
MINI PUMPER 708
This is Unit 708, a 1974 Ford F-800 Imperial Mini Pumper. This was the first new piece of fire apparatus purchased for the Civic Center Fire House.
Built in Pemberton New Jersey, this Mini Pumper was delivered in the spring of 1974 and was a welcome addition to the dilapidated and incredibly slow 1953 TASC pumper, Engine 701, which had occupied the station alone for three years.
The arrival of 708 gave the fire fighters at this station a vehicle that actually had some speed to it and it immediately replaced old 701 as the first out piece on just about every call.
The Mini Pumper was an addition to the fleet, so all of the equipment placed on it was new. The committee put a great deal of work into mounting the equipment. It was a showpiece. A “wetdown” was held for the truck on July 18, 1974.
For the next three years this unit fought a great deal of fire, including countless brush fires and a few house fires. It gave the station and its younger crew the ability to get in service quickly and was often seen tooling down Rues Lane fully manned with a crew of six. Between 1974 and 1976, it ran to nearly every call the Civic Center Station responded to.
708 earned the ire of certain established members, who were experiencing faster responses and increased membership from the Civic Center Fire House in the 1970’s. Some of these members disliked the station, the members, and this truck.
There were times when the Mini- Pumper was intentionally returned to quarters before other units arrived, to purposely keep Civic Center fire fighters from arriving first, inflaming the men who were protecting the west end of the OBVFD area. These tactics served no purpose, but to transform the officer’s ranks in the following years, with this station greatly influencing the election of officers.
Mini Pumper 708 was often out the door before the fire dispatch message stopped and was in fact, the fastest piece to go in service anywhere in East Brunswick. For many years, outside fire companies often claimed we slept in the truck or called in service from the back room on our base station. (We didn’t have a base station here until 1980)
With the arrival of the 1976 HAHN, Engine 701, Mini Pumper 708 had its response cut back somewhat, but it still responded to many calls for the next ten years.
Later decisions to make it a “ladder service” unit resulted in a truck that carried a great deal of equipment we never used.
The truck was rotated to Fern Road, and then down to Pine Street, before returning to Civic Center to be taken out of service and sold in the early 1990’s.
The one thing that was so remarkable about this truck, is that it rarely went out of service for mechanical issues. The membership completed many of the pump
and engine services on their own.
In the long run, this piece saved a great deal of wear and tear on Engine 701, handling a majority of the brush, car, and trash fires we ran from 1976 through 1986.
For the amount of money we spent on Unit 708 and the service it delivered; this piece of apparatus never owed us a dime.