Code 3 Chicago Wrigleyville Luverne Pumper (12318)
Release: May 2000
Edition Quantity: 5,000
Engine 78 of the Chicago Fire Department was organized on December 31,1894 in an area of the city formerly known as the Town of Lakeview. The company's first Captain was George B. Miller. Equipment consisted of an Ahrens steam fire engine capable of pumping 650 gallons per minute drawn by two horses and a separate horse drawn hose wagon carrying 650 feet of 2 ½' hose. Partial motorization came in 1912 when Engine 78 received a Harder Chemical and Hose Wagon which they operated until 1915.
During November 1915 Engine 78 moved into a new fire station located at 1052 West Waveland Avenue where they have remained in service for the last 84 years. This firehouse was the first in Chicago designed for motorized fire apparatus and no stable for the horses was provided. New construction was occurring across the street that would affect the neighborhood for all time. A modern ball park was being erected to house the Whales of the Federal League, and since 1916 the Cubs of the National League.
Over the years many visiting companies have made 78's quarters their home. Squad 4 was the first tenant, followed by various Divisions and Marshals, including the 3rd Division in 1929. Ambulance 6 was organized there in 1928 and has remained with Engine 78 since.
The neighborhood protected by Engine Company 78 saw some rough times during the 1960's and 70's but it never was ravaged by the arson epidemic that did great damage to its immediate neighbor to the north, Uptown. Today, the area is in resurgence and is being 'gentrified' as older buildings are being renovated and restored. The area is now known as 'Wrigleyville', obviously due to its proximity to Wrigley Field, right across the street from 78.
Engine 78, 'The Pride of Wrigleyville' is currently manned by 3 platoons of firefighters led by Captain Patrick Maloney and two lieutenants. They operate a 1997 HME/Luverne 1500 gallon per minute pumper that has a 500 gallon water tank. The Company protects the diverse area of Chicago's Northside lakefront from Diversey Avenue to Lawrence Avenue including many high rise apartment buildings, a commercial area and light industry. During 1998 the company responded to 2298 runs of which 1422 were for fire responses.
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