Celebrating the 1942 CDF Mack firetrucks

The second in our series of challenge coins features the Museum’s 1942 Mack, and is now available to purchase from our squaresite gift shop. Each coin will be laser engraved with an individual number from 001 – 500. These were created as companions to our previously released “Big Jimmy” version of the coin.

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. 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 Macks were built by Van Pelt of Oakdale, with a 300 gallon tank and a 500 GPM Hale skidmount pump. 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

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 2000, it was discovered there by an FEM and returned to CDF, then was restored and 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.

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.