1922 MODEL-T ENGINE
Westport fire truck gets second retirement in Ottawa
By Margaret Brand
May 1, 2014
A piece of Westport history got a new home in Ottawa this week with the donation of Patrick McManus’' 1922 Ford Model T chemical car to the Bytown Fire Brigade.
The car was also a piece of McManus’' history when he purchased the vehicle in 1956 was 36, and owned a gas and fuel oil business in Portland where he lived and was the postmaster.
The fire car found a safe home inside of the garage among the tank trucks and got fixed up a bit before having a second career as a parade vehicle and sometimes as a drive to work for its owner.
“"Every young kid loved it",” said McManus, a father of seven who continued to drive the vehicle in parades until into his 80’s.
A Model T is not as precise to drive as you might think,” said McManus who decided for safety’s sake he'’d give up that hobby.
He remembered fondly one parade in Portland when the car got dressed up as the Beverley Hillbil-lies vehicle.
The McManus car, the third fire vehicle for the village was used to fight an important Westport fire at a hotel located at Main and Rideau Streets. The hotel was destroyed but the village was saved.
The truck is equipped with two brass tanks loaded with soda and water. A lead bottle containing sulphuric acid was designed to spill into the soda water causing a chemical reaction and pressure to spray the water. The use of the two tanks was alternated.
The vehicle couldn’t do today’s top speeds to hurry to a fire. The top speed of the 20 hp engine was 45mph.
The vehicle is a happy find for the Bytown Fire Brigade which has now filled a gap between an 1885 Silsby horsedrawn steam pump and a couple of 1930 trucks. The group owns nine trucks which they show in their museum, take in special events and drive in parades.
Members of the Bytown Fire Brigade are mostly ex fire-fighters.
Their facility is open Monday mornings and other times for groups by appointment.
Last Saturday the McManus fire car, a 1922 Model T which began its life with the Westport Fire Department got pushed onto a flatbed trailer headed to Ottawa’s Bytown Fire Brigade’ (BFB) museum and warehouse (l-r) David McManus, John McCarthy (BFB), Peter Ryan (BFB), Ken Langille (BFB), and Pat McManus.
The original chassis being delivered by the Brockville- Westport Railroad in 1922.