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Heading to San Francisco

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal From left, Alan Sharp, Jack Greenhalgh and Ryan Ramsdell put hoses away after conducting tests an 1876 Clapp and Jones Steam fire engine Thursday afternoon in Reno. The restored coal-burning steam engine will be part of re-enactment of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire.
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A piece of firefighting equipment with a lot of history behind it will head to San Francisco this week for a re-enactment of the 1906 earthquake.

The 1876 Clapp and Jones Steam Fire Engine, which belongs to Liberty Engine Company No. 1 and the Comstock Fireman’s Museum in Virginia City, will be pulled by a team of horses to Pier 48 in San Francisco for a re-enactment of the fire that followed the great 1906 earthquake, said Tom Gray, engineman for the company.

The San Francisco Rising Expo, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday through Monday, will feature thousands of exhibits, including many historic fire engines and other equipment.

Virginia City’s contribution, a historic coal-burning steam engine exhibited by Gray and Jack Greenhalgh a restoration specialist, will be one of 11 steam engines, three that are operable. Expo officials will provide the team of horses to pull the engine.

“Ours will be the featured one because it has the highest steam pressure and the most modern boiler,” Gray said, adding the steam pressure is 100 pounds per square inch.

“It’s going to be really cool,” he said. “We were down there 25 years ago. We took our hose carts and horse-drawn equipment and re-enacted the fire at city hall.”

Gray said Liberty Engine Company No. 1 was the sister department of the San Francisco Hook and Ladder Company.

Before it heads to San Francisco, the 1876 Clapp & Jones steamer was demonstrated Thursday in Reno, for its state boiler certification.

“We’re just steaming it up to get the certifications and to demonstrate it,” Gray said.

Other fire engines to be displayed are a 1902 American Steam Fire Engine, a 1899 Metropolitan Steam Engine, an 1850 French-built hand pump, an 1899 14-foot Howe hand drawn hand engine, an 1874 Clapp and Jones and an 1856 Button hand pumper, according to Jon Sinck, publicist for the event.

The rain, however, might put a damper on things, he said.

“With the rain, everything is changing,” he said. “We have all these plans to do things outdoors and if it rains, we’ll have to move things indoors. This is still going to be a great event indoors, because Pier 48 is so large.”

The free exposition commemorates the 100th anniversary of San Francisco’s earthquake and fire. Activities surrounding the exposition will include emergency preparedness information and demonstrations; historical artifacts and photographic displays; and fireboat tours and displays.

The event will also feature a firefighter muster with bucket brigades and hose cart races, as well as the historic fire equipment displays.

On the Net

To see a list of events for the San Francisco Rising Expo, go to:

http://www.sfrising.org

San Francisco Rising Expo

The free exposition commemorates the 100th anniversary of San Francisco’s earthquake and fire:

Activities include:

• emergency preparedness information and demonstrations;

• historical artifacts and photographic displays;

• fireboat tours and displays

• firefighter muster with bucket brigades and hose cart races, as well as the historic fire equipment displays

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111 ext. 351.