fire engine
a vehicle equipped for firefighting, now usually a motor truck having a motor-driven pump for shooting water or chemical solutions at high pressure. Also called fire truck.
[1670-80]

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also called  Fire Truck,  
 mobile (nowadays self-propelled) piece of equipment used in fire fighting. Early fire engines were hand pumps equipped with reservoirs and were moved to the scene of a fire by human or animal power. In large fires, the reservoir was kept filled by a bucket brigade, but the method was inefficient, and the short range of the stream of water necessitated positioning the apparatus dangerously close to the fire. The introduction of more powerful pumps and flexible hose solved this problem, and a great advance was made with the introduction of the steam-powered pump in many large cities in the 19th century. Steam fire engines were used in the Chicago Fire (Chicago fire of 1871) of 1871. A steam engine remained in use by the New York Fire Department as late as 1932.

      Horse traction was replaced early in the 20th century by the internal-combustion engine, which also was used to power the pump. The basic automotive hose carrier quickly assumed its modern form; it carries a powerful pump, a large amount of hose (usually about 1,000 feet, or 300 metres), and a water tank for use where a supply of water is not available. Specialized auxiliary vehicles were also soon developed, including water tank trucks for rural areas. The ladder truck (hook and ladder) mounts a ladder that may be capable of rapid extension to 150 ft, often with a large-capacity nozzle built into the top section. The older type of overlength ladder truck is equipped with steerable rear wheels for negotiating city streets. The main ladder is mounted on the truck's body; when it is to be raised into the air, the hinged main ladder and its sliding extensions are moved into place by a hydraulic pump. The ladder truck carries some 200 ft or more of ladders to be used from the ground. The snorkel truck, introduced by the Chicago Fire Department in 1958, is equipped with a hydraulically operated crane mounted on a turntable, for use in either fire fighting or rescue work. The rescue truck carries such specialized equipment as cutting and wrecking tools, gas masks and inhalators, portable lighting and smoke-ejection devices, chemical extinguishers, life nets, shortwave radios, and medical equipment.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fire engine — Fire Fire (f[imac]r), n. [OE. fir, fyr, fur AS. f[=y]r; akin to D. vuur, OS. & OHG. fiur, G. feuer, Icel. f[=y]ri, f[=u]rr, Gr. py^r, and perh. to L. purus pure, E. pure Cf. {Empyrean}, {Pyre}.] 1. The evolution of light and heat in the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fire engine — fire engines N COUNT A fire engine is a large vehicle which carries fire fighters and equipment for putting out fires. [BRIT] (in AM, usually use fire truck) …   English dictionary

  • fire engine — fire .engine n a special large vehicle that carries equipment and the people that stop fires burning, especially the equipment that shoots water at a fire American Equivalent: fire truck …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • fire engine — fire ,engine noun count a large road vehicle that FIREFIGHTERS use for driving to a fire and carrying the equipment they need …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • fire engine — n. 1. a motor truck with a special pumping apparatus for spraying water, chemicals, etc. on fires to put them out 2. loosely any motor truck for carrying firemen and equipment to a fire …   English World dictionary

  • fire engine — ► NOUN ▪ a vehicle carrying firefighters and their equipment …   English terms dictionary

  • fire engine — noun any of various large trucks that carry firemen and equipment to the site of a fire • Syn: ↑fire truck • Hypernyms: ↑truck, ↑motortruck • Hyponyms: ↑ladder truck, ↑aerial ladder truck * * * noun, pl …   Useful english dictionary

  • fire engine — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms fire engine : singular fire engine plural fire engines a large road vehicle that firefighters use for driving to a fire and carrying the equipment they need …   English dictionary

  • fire-engine — adj. Fire engine is used with these nouns: ↑red …   Collocations dictionary

  • fire engine — fire′ en gine n. trs a vehicle equipped for firefighting • Etymology: 1670–80 …   From formal English to slang

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