23 Fun Facts About Engine 23

  1. “E23 98” is written on the side of the truck. The E23 stands for “Engine 23”, and 98 is the year the truck was built—in 1998.
  2. Engine 23 fought fires for 18 years before being decommissioned and donated to Central Library for a new set of adventures.
  3. Engine 23 was built in Ocala, Florida, and then driven to Red Deer to have its lockers and compartments installed.
  4. Engine 23 cost $250,000 in 1998. It would cost $800,000 in 2016!
  5. Engine 23 was specially ordered with an extra four inches of head space in the cab. The unique new design is now known in the Fire Service as the "Calgary Cab".
  6. Engine 23 weighs over 20 tonnes—that’s the weight of more than three African Elephants, which are the largest living land animal!
  7. Engine 23 moved into Central Library just after midnight on April 4, 2016.
  8. To move Engine 23 into Central Library, movers had to take its wheels off and push it into its new home on special rails, and then put the wheels back on.
  9. Engine 23’s water tank holds 27 and-a-half full bathtubs, or 2,200 litres of water. When full, the water tank weighs 4,850 pounds!
  10. Once on the scene of a fire, the 2,200 litres carried by Engine 23 would be completely used up in two minutes.
  11. There are three hoses Engine 23 can carry: 300 metres of large supply hose, 300 metres of medium supply hose, and 135 metres of attack hose. That’s nearly a kilometre of hose!
  12. The type of hose and nozzle that firefighters use depends upon the kind of fire they are battling. For fires inside a building, firefighters usually use a smaller hose that is easier to carry and move inside.  For larger fires, wider and heavier hoses will be used.  Specialized nozzles can be used for different types of fires—some spray a stream of water under high pressure to attack stronger fires, while others spray a mist to cool hot surfaces before they can burst into flames.
  13. When on duty, Engine 23 would have a driver, a captain, a senior firefighter, and a “hydrant”—the person who connects the truck to fire hydrants.
  14. Firefighters' protective clothing is called turnout gear, as they need to "turn out" for a fire. The outermost layer of turnout gear is designed to help protect from flame, water, and tearing using materials like Kevlar® and Nomex®.
  15. The cabinets on Engine 23 were packed with all types of tools: brooms, fans, the jaws of life, and much more!
  16. One of the tools the truck would carry is a bullet saw, to cut holes in the roof and let built-up smoke escape from a building. They’re a type of ventilation saw used especially by firefighters.
  17. In addition to carrying air tanks and masks for people rescued from fires, Engine 23 would also have carried air masks for cats and dogs!
  18. The air tanks, or “breathing tanks,” carry the same air that we breathe, and not just oxygen. The reason for this is that oxygen “feeds” fire, and could even cause explosions!
  19. The Calgary Fire Department is over 130 years old. In January of 1885, there was a huge house fire in Calgary. As there were no firefighters, a big crowd of people gathered around the fire and tried to put it out with snowballs (it didn’t work). The need for a Fire Department became apparent.
  20. Calgary got its first fire truck in 1885. It was pulled by horses. The City didn’t get its first motorized fire truck until 1910.
  21. In 1910, that first motorized fire truck was pulled over by the police for speeding! The Fire Chief at the time, “Cappy” Smart, told the Chief of Police that any police officer that got in the way of his fire truck would be run down. After that, fire trucks were allowed to rush to fires as quickly as they were able.
  22. Calgary’s first motorized fire truck had a top speed of 40 kilometres an hour—an outrageous speed in 1910. Engine 23 can go as fast 140 km/hr. It was never stopped by police for speeding.
  23. The Hub Oil Explosion and resulting fire of August 9, 1999, was one of the biggest fires in Calgary’s history. Engine 23 was the first engine on the scene that day!