Fire Apparatus Muster
will take a look at the past
will take place at Firemans Park
Helen E. McKinney
(June 2009) Frank Taff is passionate about
the history of the Madison Fire Department. And rightly so-as a volunteer
fireman since 1974, he has witnessed technological improvements that
have made his job a whole lot easier.
Taff became a volunteer fireman to serve my community, he
said, and has never regretted it. He is a member of Walnut
Street Fire Co. No. 4.
Years of experience has enabled him to become chair of a new event,
the Madison Indiana Bicentennial Fire Muster. Taking place from 10 a.m.
to 5 p.m. on June 6, this event will be a collection and display
of antique fire apparatus, he said. The event is being hosted
by the Madison Volunteer Fire Department and the Madison Bicentennial
Committee. The collection will contain approximately 20 apparatus, ranging
from newer units that are no longer in service to the oldest, still
This is the first attempt to have this event for the community,
said Taff of the muster that will fittingly be held at Firemans
Park on the corner of Jefferson Street and Vaughn Drive.
by Tara Gentile
organizer Frank Taff poses
beside this Ahrens Fox-City Service
Ladder Truck that arrived at the
Walnut Street Fire Co. No. 4 station in
Madison on May 20, 1929.
The Bicentennial has the broadest participation
of any community event in my memory, said Laura Hodges, Marketing-Events
Coordina-tor for the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce and also marketing
coordinator for the Bicentennial. Hodges said the Muster is a good example
of this participation. Frank Taff and his colleagues saw an opportunity
to share their firefighting history with us and they followed through
with this excellent event.
One special truck Taff will have on display will be a 1929 Ahrens Fox-City
Service Ladder Truck, which the Madison Fire Department purchased new
for $8,000. When it was decided that a replacement truck was needed
by 1953, two pigs were raised and fattened behind the firehouse to sell
to help pay for this expense. The 1929 model was sold at raffle in October
1953 and re-purchased by the department in March 2005.
A pumping demonstration will also be held at the rivers edge as
part of the Muster, said Taff. In addition to the display of fire apparatus,
fire memorabilia will be for sale.
Many of the antique apparatus is privately owned by individuals, said
Taff. He has invited current apparatus throughout the county and Madison
to take part in the Muster.
Madison is very proud of its volunteer firefighters, who have
played a crucial role in preserving lives and historic buildings,
Hodges said. The Madison Indiana Bicentennial Fire Muster will spotlight
both the fire equipment and the brave men and women who have volunteered
as firefighters during our history.
The event will allow collectors the opportunity to show off with
pride their apparatus and give the general public an idea of the history
behind them, Taff said. Trucks will be coming from northern Kentucky,
southern Indiana and southern Ohio.
Taff said that if he can display 20 trucks, hell consider the
event a success. He has provisions for 50, but a national convention
for fire collectors will be held the following month in Indianapolis
that may hinder collectors from bringing fire apparatus to Madison in
June who dont want to go through any added expense of hauling
the trucks to another location.
Open houses will also be held from 1 a.m. to 3 p.m. at all Madison volunteer
firehouses on Saturday-Sunday, June 6-7.
For more information about the Madison
Indiana Bicentennial Fire Muster, contact Frank Taff at (812) 265-3762
Back to June 2009 Articles.