Bothell, Washington, is a primarily residential community located at the north end of Lake Washington. The Bothell City Fire Dept. operates together with King County Fire Protection District #42 and Snohomish County Fire Protection District #10 across the county line. The unified department is quite unusual in that it includes parts of two counties.
When I visited in 1988, Bothell operated out of three stations. Station 42 was located in the City of Bothell. Volunteer Station 43 was located east of Bothell, on the border with the City of Woodinville, which is in a different fire district. Station 45 was located in Snohomish County and covered the northern part of Bothell.
The two oldest rigs in service when I visited were near-identical Kenworths. The 1961 model was in reserve for the city, while the 1964 ran out of the volunteer station near Woodinville. Both rigs had been delivered with 1091 Hall-Scott gas engines, and both had been re-powered with Detroit Diesels, most likely the 8V-71 model. Air-pack compartments had been added. The only differences I could spot were cab roof marker lights and an opticom strobe on the county rig. Both rigs had red flashers built in to the front bumper.
The second-out engine at the city station was a real oddball. It was built by Clark Fire Apparatus of Albuquerque, New Mexico, on a long wheelbase Kenworth W model conventional chassis. It had an integral rear-facing canopy cab that was built on to the back of the cab. Although powered by a Detroit Diesel 350hp 8V-71 engine, the rig was handicapped by a low-geared differential. The gearing was such that the top speed was rpm-limited to a pathetic 52mph. When responding on the highway, the driver was forced to shut off the warning equipment, as the rig couldn’t keep up with traffic!
Also at the city station was District 42’s other pumper. Engine 41 was built on a 225hp Caterpillar-Diesel-powered Ford C-8000 tilt-cab chassis. Similar to other Fords, the four-digit model number meant diesel power. Bodywork was built by Western States of Cornelius, Oregon, a popular builder in Oregon and Washington. Western States is not to be confused with Westates Fire Apparatus of Woodland, California. Twin Beacon-Rays were paired with twin electronic sirens on the roof.
Bothell was operating two near-identical late-model Seagrave pumpers. Operating out of the Snohomish County FPD #10 station was Engine 45, a 1985 Seagrave (not pictured). The Bothell City station was running a brand-new 1988 Seagrave HB model as Engine 42. Powered by a Detroit Diesel 8V-92 TA engine, this motor had a displacement of 736 cubic-inches! Featuring a Q-siren, Federal light bar, and a top-mount hose reel, the new rig was sharp looking and well equipped.
After many years of operating with no ladder truck, Bothell had finally been able to add one. This was necessary to provide protection for business parks and an upcoming expansion of the University of Washington, Bothell Campus. The new ladder truck was built by Seagrave on the low-profile W series chassis, which used a full-width low cab. The aerial was a 100-foot rear-mount model. Unfortunately, the aerial failed shortly after delivery, and the near-new Seagrave operated for several months as a city-service ladder truck. The serious failure of the aerial prompted the replacement of this rig with a new Sutphen ladder truck after little more than a dozen years.