Carroll County Times

Antique fire equipment to parade through Westminster, have show at Farm Museum Saturday

Retired fire equipment from the 1920s through the '80s will be on display Saturday at the Chesapeake Antique Fire Apparatus Association's 43rd Annual Spring Muster at the Carroll County Farm Museum.

"It's similar to an antique car show, but with fire apparatus," club president Frank Tremel said.


The Spring Muster starts off with a parade of the antique fire equipment, complete with sirens and horns a-blaring, traveling down Main Street in Westminster to the Farm Museum at 10 a.m.

Equipment will be parked around the Farm Museum Pond off Gist Road so that the pumping equipment can access the pond water for pumping demonstrations, said Charlie Cadle, a member of the CAFAA board of the directors.


Most of the equipment on display will be from the '50s, '60s and '70s, Cadle said, but members also have pieces that go back to the 1800s, though those aren't the motorized vehicles. Attendees can expect to see antique hook and ladder trucks, pump trucks and specialty equipment, such as brush trucks, as well as a variety of hand-pulled carts with different uses.

"There's plenty of them out there," Cadle said of antique fire equipment.

Most fire companies replace their equipment after 20 years, he said, and many are in the practice of selling the used equipment to a fire company member or an outside collector. Most of the collectors are retired career or volunteer firemen, he said.

Tremel said the majority of the equipment taking part in the muster is privately owned, but a few fire companies, including Westminster's, own historical fire equipment and will be bringing it to the show. Westminster usually brings its 1924 Lafrance ladder truck, he said, which is also on display in its firehouse museum the rest of the year.

In addition to the fire equipment, there will be a flea market, different vendors and children's activities.

"A lot of kids like fire engines, as did I," Cadle said.

Many of adult men remember their fondness for fire trucks from when they were children, he said, and want to bring their own children out to the muster to share that experience with them.

"You're always a kid at heart," he said.


In addition to the muster being an opportunity for the CAFAA as an outreach event to the public, it's also an opportunity for its members to get together and see what each has been working on in the past year.

Many of these pieces come in some level of degradation, Cadle said, and the members work hard to restore them to how they would have looked in their era.

The event is free for all attendees, and non-club members are welcome to bring their equipment as well, he said, though there is a $15 registration fee to be part of the show.

"It's just a day to recognize the fire service by displaying the antique apparatus from years gone by," Tremel said.