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Unique Places: Buffalo Fire Museum | News

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Unique Places: Buffalo Fire Museum

BUFFALO, NY - For anyone interested in fighting fires (or for even anyone who is not) there is a veritable treasure trove uniquely dedicated to the history of the Buffalo Fire Department.

The Buffalo Fire Museum is chock full of thousands of artifacts dating back 200 years, according to Carl Hoepfinger, the President of the Buffalo Fire Historical Society.

"We have everything here from fire memorabilia from the War of 1812 right up through the present," said the affable Hoepfinger, himself a retired city firefighter.

The fire historical society has been gathering artifacts for the past 30 years, according to Hoepfinger, who says some of the items had been stored by the city, while many other articles were graciously donated by others who had come in possession of them.

"There were a lot of things left in fire houses, but then there were items where people who had uncles or grandfathers who were firefighters found them in their attics and basements and brought them in, which meant an awful lot to us," Hoepfinger said.

Interestingly, perhaps the most popular attraction among this myriad of relics, is a modern one. It's a simulator which allows visitors to experience what it was like to roll out on an actual fire call, while manning the tiller, which was the steering wheel on rear of longer ladder trucks in years gone by.

"The people love it, especially the kids. And sometimes parents will shove their kids put of the way so they can hop in and steer too!" Hoepfinger said.

The film used in the simulator was actually shot by an operator of the last tiller truck used by Buffalo's bravest before the rig was retired several years ago.

And perhaps most unique among the things you can do with your family these days, is that admission to the museum is free.

The Buffalo Fire Museum is located at 1850 William Street at the corner of North Ogden and is open Saturdays from 10am to 4pm, or anytime by appointment for group tours.

Click on the video player to experience the fire museum, by watching our story from Two On Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Norm Fisher from Eden.

Click here to read Dave McKinley's blog.


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