Here is a picture of Engine 51 (the Ward LaFrance) taken just after she arrived in LA and prior to her debut on the show. Notice there is no "51" fleet number plate on the front left of the vehicle (below where Stoker sits), nor is there on the left side where Marco sits). These were added later prior to her being shown for the first time on the show).
(Photo courtesy of Paul Keenleyside not to be used or reproduced without prior written consent)
(1974 - Present)
††† Delivery of the Ward LaFrances began in late 1972 with rigs arriving about one or two a week. These were the beginning of the complete dieselization of the LACoFD fleet. Chief Houts suggested to Bob Cinader that since the County was getting all these new Ward LaFrances, that the show should reflect that fact. Universal Studios went along with that suggestion, contacted Dick Gergel, president of Ward LaFrance, and arranged for a LACoFD look-a-like to be used in the show. This unit was put on a "driving tour" across the U.S prior to arrival at Universal.
††† Engine 51 made her debut on the second episode of the third season called "The Old Engine".
††† The 2nd Engine 51 is a 1000gpm triple combination P-80 "Ambassador" model powered by a Cummins NH855 250hp naturally aspirated diesel engine driving through an Allison HT-70 power shift transmission. The LACoFD rigs were 1250 gpm triples powered by Cummins NHCT295 turbocharged Diesels driving through Allison HT-70 5 speed manual transmissions. They had 500-gallon booster tanks, as did Engine 51. In their outward appearance both E-51 and the LACoFD rigs were identical. All the County Ward rigs plus E-51 had Federal Q2B sirens and Grover "Stutter-tone" air horns.
††† There are many views of Engine 51 both from inside and out, and from many angles around the cab and in several episodes. The fan gets to "ride along" as Mike Stoker powers up the engine, and we get to see him as Captain Stanley would sitting in the Captainís seat as the engine approaches the incidents.
††† Additional Ward LaFrance units can be seen in later episodes, most notably Engine 73, and 114. These units are almost identical to Engine 51 and were actual LA County Fire Department units.
††† Ward LaFrance built fire equipment for many departments and along with the now famous P80 "Ambassador", Ward LaFrance also had a "Diplomat" and "Senator" model. Ward LaFrance went out of business formally in 1979, but a few employees tried to keep it going for a year or so, unfortunately without success.
††† Once Emergency! was completed, Engine 51 sat in Universalís lot for a time as a movie prop vehicle. She made another appearance in the movies, having appeared for a very brief time as the engine responding in "The China Syndrome" (Columbia Pictures). LA County then sold her once Universal was finished with her to the U.S. Parks Service and has been on station at Yosemite Park California. The most recent story was that she was to be returned to LA County to retire at the LA County Fire Department museum.
Engine 51 (1979 - present)
††† Universal and LA County were well aware of the huge success of Emergency! and because of it, two things happened. Station 127 was remained the RA Cinader Station, in memory of the late RA Cinader. LA County also renumbered its fire station at Universal from 60 to 51. Fans not aware may get a bit confused as Station 51 as it is today is not the same Station 51 that was in the show. Station 51 used outside shots and apparatus bay shots from Station 127 which is located next to I-405 in Carson City.
††† Current Equipment at Station 51 (Universal) are a Van Pelt Pumper and GMC paramedic truck. Equipment at Station 127 (aka: Station 51) are also Van Pelt equipment and also has a GMC 1 ton paramedic truck.