Celebrating the 1942 CDF Mack firetrucks

The second in our series of challenge coins features the Museum’s 1942 Mack, and will be available soon in our online squaresite gift shop. Each coin will be individually numbered 001 – 500. If you already own one of our “Big Jimmy” coins and would like to purchase the similarly numbered Mack coin, send us an email at [email protected] by April 12th and we’ll reserve one for you before they go on sale to the public in our squaresite gift shop.

After it’s retirement as a CDF front-line rig, the Museum’s 1942 Mack was sold to the Long Valley FPD in Laytonville, where she spent a second career as a working engine. In about 2010, it was discovered there by an FEM and returned to CDF, then was purchased by the Museum. It has been cared for by volunteers in the local Unit and has been used at special events and funerals. It is currently housed in Santa Rosa, and is registered and insured as a historic vehicle.

Our 1942 Mack is one from a batch of 23 Mack firetrucks purchased by CDF in 1942 with federal assistance for the purpose of protecting California in case of incendiary attack during WWII. It was built by Van Pelt of Oakdale, with a 300 gallon tank and a 500 GPM Hale skidmount pump.

After Pearl Harbor, the potential threat of invasion along the West Coast sparked an immediate response from the California legislature in funding resources and manpower for disaster preparedness and fire protection. The California Division of Forestry was called upon to work with the military and provide both lookout duties and civil defense preparations. The result was a tripling of CDFs annual budget and a large expansion of the CDF organization as part of the California Fire Disaster Plan

We’re not sure where this the CDF Mack in this picture served, but you can tell from the P numbering on the door that it was assigned as part of the statewide emergency motor pool created during the war.

Another of the CDF 1942 Macks sitting in the boneyard at Davis in this picture from April 1968. This one retired after 25 years of service.