On September 1913, the Nanaimo fire department welcomed a new addition to their fleet that helped them transition into the modern era of the 20th century, with the purchase of two state-of-the-art motorized fire engines. Travelling all the way across the continent, the two fire engines were shipped by the American LaFrance Fire Engine Company in New York State to their new home in Nanaimo. Their arrival was met with much excitement from the whole community, and they were even put on display for two weeks before being put into service.
Pictured above is a group of firefighters aboard one of the engines, American LaFrance #189, also known as “Shakey”. It gained the nickname as it lacked shock absorbers for the engine, so naturally it shaked! “Shakey” was used as a working fire truck for over 30 years. Over the years, many parts have been restored and modernized, including new paint and the gold leaf detailing.
Currently residing in the museum of Nanaimo Fire Department Station #1, “Shakey” now has a view of the streets she once chugged along to respond to fires. Check out this relic of Nanaimo’s history today! (from the collection of the Nanaimo Archive)