A visit to the Remembering Old Valdez Exhibit wouldn’t be complete without viewing the museum’s display of firefighting equipment and vehicles. Like most other communities in the United States, Valdez has had an intense history of disastrous events that have altered its physical appearance. Yet, Valdez can be commended for historically being proactive in the mitigation and prevention of tragedies caused by fire. The Valdez Fire Department, established in 1901, was operated entirely by volunteers until 1967 — over sixty-five years of dedication and outstanding volunteerism even in the face of adverse conditions. The Fire Department played a key role in closing a chapter of Valdez’s history following the Good Friday Earthquake: fearing misuse by squatters and trespassers, the remaining structures at the Old Town site were razed in a controlled burn. This presented a unique training opportunity for firefighters throughout the state.
Vehicles on display at ROVE include a 1942 Ford fire truck, a 1923 Ford Model T Chemical Truck, and a 1953 Willys Jeep. The community’s 1886 Gleason & Bailey hand pumped fire engine, and 1907 Ahrens steam water pumper, both fully restored to their original condition, are displayed at our Egan location.