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(Image: Seattle Refined)

Last Resort Fire Department, preserving Seattle's vintage fire trucks

This story was filmed before the current shutdown, and The Last Resort Fire Department museum is currently closed. Definitely put them on your list to visit after the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order is lifted - and in the meantime - enjoy the above video, you may learn something just like we did!

Did you know fire trucks and fire engines are different?

Before doing this story, I sure didn't.

Generally, fire engines pump water and fire trucks haul ladders. It's one of the many lessons I learned from Galen Thomaier, a former Seattle firefighter and a co-founder of Seattle's Last Resort Fire Department, an organization dedicated to the preservation of historical items relating to the Seattle Fire Department.

The collection includes helmets, nozzles, photos, documents and, of course, more than a dozen shiny red firefighting vehicles.

"If we hadn't gone to the effort to save these, they would have been scrapped, and everything we have in our collection is fully functioning," said Thomaier. "In a last resort, you could use them if you had to."

The artifacts in his care span the entire history of the Seattle Fire Department, going right back to the department's founding in 1889. Everything has a purpose and a story behind it, from the fire trucks to the maps and telegraph equipment dispatchers were using long before 9-1-1.

The Last Resort Fire Department has some of its collection on display at a small museum at SFD Headquarters in Pioneer Square. When the current Stay Home, Stay Healthy order is lifted - Thomaier and other LRSF volunteers will return to welcoming visitors Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

You can also rent an antique fire engine for events, including weddings. Thomaier hopes to find a space to house his entire collection for the public to see, but, for now, the small museum at SFD HQ will have to do. He says his organization is short on volunteers and funds. You can donate here.

"I'm hoping that a museum can be created soon, while I'm still here, so more people can see these, learn from them and enjoy."