When the Hall of Flame Firefighting Museum acquired FDNY Rescue 4, the truck and its graphics needed a lot of work. The museum selected Blue Chip Signworks of Ahwatukee, Phoenix, AZ as their graphics partner in the restoration of this historic truck. Blue Chip Signworks is extremely proud to participate in the restoration of this truck and the tribute to those who gave their lives for us that day.
FDNY Rescue 4 is a historic fire truck. This truck responded to the emergency calls of 9/11 and the World Trade Center Disaster. Rescue 4 was caught in the collapse of the towers and its crew courageously gave their lives attempting to rescue those trapped in the burning buildings. You can read more about the amazing tale of this historic truck here.
The restoration work on Rescue 4 included removing, repairing and repainting many of the body panels from the truck. Prior to removal, We meticulously documented all of the graphics on each panel. We took detailed measurements of the sizes and placements of each of the graphics. We took many photos to be able to recreate the graphics with accurate color reproduction. Wherever possible, we made sketch rubbings of the actual lettering to enable us to scan and trace the details on the truck. With these methods, we reproduced the vehicle graphics as accurately as possible. Every attempt was made to place the truck back exactly as found. We even went so far as to try to use the same materials found on the truck whenever that was practical and possible.
The graphics replaced include the “In Memory of” gold leaf plaques above the doors listing the fallen heroes of Rescue 4. This graphic is a cut gold leaf on a black background. We faithfully duplicated the logo patch for Resuce 4 exactly as it was on the truck at the time. This patch is on the truck in several places. We matched and re-created several sections of the reflective strips along the sides of the truck.
Another significant recreation is the acrylic letters “R” and “4” on the rear of the fire truck. With a tracing and photos of the truck taken prior to 9/11 we got the size and exact shape of the letters and their halo outlines. The new letters look exactly like the photo taken of the truck on that fateful day. There are many other small decals, safety labels, and cautions that have been carefully duplicated and installed just as there were on the truck originally. Blue Chip Signworks performed all of the installation work in careful consultation with the Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting staff. The staff has many recorded details and historic documents of the original truck to give us a good idea of the end goal.
Rescue 4 is both a historical gem and a tribute to the courage and selflessness of her crew. We are awed by the feeling one gets when you are close to this truck. It inspires us and motivates us to continue to learn from the past and, hopefully, design a better future for us all. If you are in Phoenix or plan a visit here, I encourage you to visit the Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting in the Papago Park area of Phoenix, AZ. It is an incredible gem of history with firefighting apparatus dating back to before the automobile. I consider it a “must see” in the Valley of the Sun.