Cary Fire Protection District celebrates centennial

Firefighters to welcome Sept. 11 engine’s parade appearance

CARY – Famous and infamous events in history, whether it is within the community or the country, will be recognized during the Cary Fire Protection District’s Centennial Parade at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The parade will feature Cary’s antique 1928 American La France engine and Rescue Co. 5, a surviving fire engine from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The parade’s route will begin at First and Pearl streets and end at Cary-Grove High School, 2208 Three Oaks Road.

After the parade, the department’s Fire Truck Expo will run from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the high school, where the fire trucks that participated in the parade and other equipment will be displayed.

Along with the American La France and Rescue Co. 5 engines, 25 to 30 fire trucks will be featured in the parade, including antique trucks provided by surrounding towns and the Northern Illinois Fire Museum. A pink fire engine that travels in support of the fight against breast cancer also will be featured.

The American La France fire engine was in service from the 1930s until it was retired in the early 1960s; it was restored in the early 1980s. It was the second engine bought by the fire department.

Cary firefighter Lt. Andy Veath said the American La France will be driven by Ernest “Corky” Carlson, Fire Protection Board of Trustees president and a retired firefighter, in the parade. Carlson was one of the volunteers who helped restore the engine.

“It’s a fitting tribute to them that we still have the truck polished up and in good condition,” Veath said.

Fire safety literature and items such as badge stickers and fire hats will be available for children, and Cary Fire Department Centennial T-shirts will be for sale for $20.

The Rescue Co. 5 engine is one of the two fire engines that survived the Sept. 11 attacks. Eleven out of 12 crew members of Rescue Company 5 died in the collapse of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers.

The Rescue Co. 4 and Rescue Co. 5 engines are part of the Remembrance Rescue Project, a nonprofit organization that works to preserve the memories of the lost crews of both fire engines. The Remembrance Rescue Project, which is operated by active firefighters, works with fire departments across the country to educate those who may have been too young to remember the attacks.

“It’s a real honor for us to have that truck there,” Veath said. “It makes us aware of the brothers and sisters we lost in that fire.”

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