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Legacy Of Leadership: The First Diesel-Powered Fire Truck.

Today virtually all pumpers, aerial trucks and most Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units are powered by diesel engines. But that wasn’t always the case.It wasn’t until 1937 that the first diesel engine was installed in a fire truck. The pumper was custom-made by the Stutz Fire Apparatus Company and featured a Cummins Model HR-6 diesel. The truck was put into service in 1939 at the No. 1 Company of the Columbus, Ind., Fire Department.Capable of pumping air as well as water, this unit could stream 1,000 gallons per minute. It carried 1,500 feet of 2.5-inch hose, 300 feet of leader line hose and 200 feet of booster line hose. The original 80-gallon booster tank was replaced with a 300-gallon tank in the early 1950s.

The Stutz truck was officially retired from active service on Nov. 4, 1974, and has been restored to “like new” condition by Cummins and the Columbus Fire Department. Befitting its veteran status, the truck is showcased in ceremonial appearances at shows, parades and occasional fire chief conventions.

Do you have a favorite vintage fire truck? We’d love to hear about it! Send your stories and photos to and we may feature your favorite truck in an upcoming newsletter!

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