No high-tech firetrucks allowed in this parade

THE BALTIMORE SUN

A stretch of downtown Baltimore seemed to be painted fire-engine red yesterday as a parade of 100 historic fire-fighting vehicles kicked off the last day of the 14th annual Firehouse and Emergency Services Expo.

Steam-powered fire engines, hand-drawn hose carts and wooden ladder trucks were among the vehicles dating to the 19th century that made their way along a milelong route from ZTC Key Highway and Covington Street to the Baltimore Convention Center, where the expo was held.

In honor of the city's bicentennial, only vehicles at least 25 years old could participate in the parade, organizers said.

Everett Barnes and his son Manny of Southwest Baltimore were among the spectators who oohed and aahed as the shining vehicles -- representing firefighters in 40 states -- two marching bands and a bagpipe band followed the parade route.

"I want to become a firefighter, so this was too much fun," said Manny, 11.

"This is kind of thrilling," said Everett Barnes, a former city firefighter. "I'm away from the action now so this will have to do."

"This is the only way anyone will remember the history of fire departments," said Ed Brnich, a board member of the Ellicott City Volunteer Firemen's Association.

His group's parade entry was a 1929 water pumper.

The expo, a trade show that featured 40 seminars a day about safety procedures, training and other topics, began Thursday.

Bruce T. Bowling, publisher of Firehouse magazine, which sponsors the expo, said the event has been held here 12 of its 14 years.

This year's expo drew about 12,000 visitors and was "the biggest and best we've ever had," Bowling said.

Pub Date: 7/28/97

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