Taking A Ride In A ’36 Fire Truck

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - October 04, 2006
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Kendall Ching and Edward Call of Fire Truck Hawaii: go ahead, ring the bell
Kendall Ching and Edward Call of Fire Truck Hawaii: go
ahead, ring the bell

You can’t help but notice the red vintage fire truck around town with the license plate FIRE 50.

This 1936 Ford fire engine is available for parties, and for tours.

Kendall Ching and Eddie Call want people to have fun and enjoy the feeling of riding in a fire truck. That’s one reason why these real fire fighters got together to form Fire Truck Hawaii.

“I want people to feel for a moment the same feeling a fire fighter gets,” says Ching, whose Nuuanu garage has served as the truck’s refurbishing station.

Yank the string on the fire bell, and it rings - clang, clang, clang!

The truck can carry eight adults or possibly 12 maximum on it’s tours that start (and end) at the Rock Island Cafe at Kings Village in Waikiki. The tour goes through Waikiki, Diamond Head, and downtown Honolulu. They point out things such as Honolulu’s first fire hydrant, which still works.

“We’re really interested in history,” explains Call. “We give the tour from a fireman’s perspective.”

There are helmets and fire-fighter’s jackets to wear for picture taking.

The truck may also be rented for keiki parties. For children 12 and under, souvenirs from the fire engine are stickers and plastic fire helmets. For children, they want to help spread the word to stay away from drugs, stay in school, and study.

Both Ching and Call will drive and conduct the tours. Ching, a Punahou grad and a former ambulance worker, handles the business end. Ching, a member of the Hauula Fire Station, thanks his family for their support: his wife, Koren, 7 year-old Sydnie, and 5 year-old Nicholas.

Call, a Kahaluu resident and member of the Aikahi Fire Department, says his 3-year-old daughter Mia loves getting in the antique fire truck. Call takes care of all the mechanics including removing the truck’s copper 250-gallon water tank. He credits his wife Bonnie, who is expecting their second child, for her encouragement.

Among the first public appearances for the fire truck was the I Love Liliha Festival earlier this year. Ching and Call say their 10-minute tours through Nuuanu got an overwhelming response.

“We have to understand the area, the history to get back to why we are protecting our beautiful Hawaii,” adds Ching.

“People who grew up in that area had no idea of some of the history we shared with them,” noted Call.

For example, they shared with their riders that Alexander Cartwright, who is the father of baseball, was the second fire chief for the Honolulu Fire Department. Cartwright is buried in the Oahu Cemetery in Nuuanu.

Ching and Call have a 1950 fire engine that they are restoring, and they hope to have it completed by December.

Upcoming opportunities to ride in the red 1936 Ford fire truck will be at the Discover Moiliili Day on Oct. 7 at Old Honolulu Stadium Park, and at the Honolulu City Lights display from December to January.

For more information, call 590-2100 www.firetruckhawaii.com.

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