The Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting, which is celebrating 60 years of sharing the history of firefighting with the Valley community, is gearing up for the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Parade on Saturday, Dec. 18.
This innovative museum draws visitors from around the world and hundreds of schoolchildren every year to its home at 6101 E. Van Buren St. Founded by George F. Getz, Jr. in 1961, the museum features fire alarm systems, extinguishers, vehicles, helmets and more than 400 firemarks from this country, as well as Great Britain and continental Europe.
Getz had seen a vintage fire truck – a 1924 American La France Type 12 pumper – alongside the road while driving through Illinois with his family one year. His wife, Olive, and son, Bert, arranged to buy it for him. That led to a lifelong fascination for Getz with the history and technology of firefighting, which prompted the formation of the non-profit National Historical Fire Foundation to promote the programs of a museum that Getz named the Hall of Flame. The collection of firefighting equipment originally was housed in an exhibit in a small museum in Wisconsin, near the Getz summer home. It then moved to another area of Wisconsin until it opened in its present building in Papago Park adjacent to the Phoenix Zoo and Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
The museum is home to the FDNY Rescue Company 4 rig, which carried firefighters to respond to the World Trade Center twin towers after they were attacked by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001. All of the firefighters who were on this truck responding to the attacks died in the line of duty while rescuing many victims trapped in the burning buildings. The rig, which was gifted to the museum by retired New York firefighter Robert Allen several years ago, was heavily damaged and was completely restored by local volunteers. It is now displayed at the museum.
The Hall of Flame brings vehicles to drive in the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Parade, which starts at 10 a.m. on Dec. 18 at the corner of north Central and Montebello avenues.
To learn more, visit www.fiestabowl.org. For more information about the Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting, visit https://hallofflame.org.