Phillip is a 1986 Pierce Arrow Fire Engine that was donated by the City of Mentor to the Mentor Firefighters' Historical Association in 2007.
He is currently in the final stages of being refurbished and updated to become an interactive safety engine and museum on wheels.
Thanks to Excalibur Auto Body for all their hard
work on the Phillip restoration project.
The Story of Phillip T. Pierce The Fire Truck
Phillip T. Pierce was born in 1986 in Appleton, Wisconsin, and was adopted by the Mentor Fire Department. The strong, shiny fire truck was the envy of every fire truck in Lake County Ohio and got the number 1153 painted on his doors. He had a fast engine and could pump more water than Lake Erie could hold. He held the strongest tools ever, like the “jaws of life” to help people when they were in a bad car crash. He had a loud siren and air horn you could hear for miles, telling people to watch out! Phillip was on his way! He was assigned to station 5 near City Hall and the Mentor High School in the heart of the city. For the next 7 years, he responded to thousands of emergencies whenever someone needed help. Phillip put out fires and kept the firemen warm and safe on the way to calls. He worked day or night, in the summer sun and the winter snow. Phillip loved fire prevention week! He got to visit daycares and preschools, and children would climb on him, pretend to drive him and get their picture taken with him. But his favorite was the “It’s Better In Mentor” Parade every September. He would always be the first fire truck in the parade, right out just behind the fire chief, and the firefighters made sure he was the best looking truck in the parade. He would smile and wave, flash his lights and make the crowd cheer. He’d park outside in front of Fire Station #5 all weekend and not want to come in.
But life has a way of changing. In 1993, the fire chief gave him the bad news. The city needed a younger fire engine, with a stronger engine and more compartments. Phillip was just getting too old to keep up with all the 911 calls. Although he never complained, he put his pride aside and made room for a new fire engine to take his spot. Phillip even gave back his number 1153 for the new truck. For the next several years he spent his time filling in when any other fire trucks in the city needed to get fixed or have their oil or tires changed. Although he was lonely, he never gave up hope that someday he would get his number back. But things would get worse before they got better. On a cold morning in 2007, a firefighter hopped into Phillip and started him up. Phillip thought he might be needed to go cover another fire station, but instead the firefighter parked him out in the cold. Through the blowing snow, Phillip looked up to see another brand new fire engine pulling in. It was the biggest fire engine he had ever seen, but he barely noticed the shiny paint and chrome. He couldn’t concentrate on the new yellow and red stripes on the back, and didn’t even see the giant light tower on the roof. The only thing he saw was the number 1153 on its doors. He knew this meant the end.
Now sometimes when fire trucks retire, they are lucky enough to be sent off to small fire departments in far away places, and sometimes they go right to the junkyard. But Phillip was special. Everyone knew how much he loved children, so the firemen got together with a plan. They talked to the chief, and explained that it was only proper that he be allowed to spend the rest of his life at Mentor Safety Village. The chief took the idea to City Council, and they voted to allow Phillip to stay in the city, and he soon moved into his new home at the Mentor Fire Museum on Jackson Street. Before he could even get settled into his new home, firefighters old and young started working on him. They took off his rusty metal and got him new pieces. They pulled off old stickers and fixed his dents. They touched up his paint and put fire hose back on him. But nothing could prepare him for when they pulled out the brand new gold numbers, 1153!
But they didn’t stop there. They showed him plans of what he might look like someday. First of all, he needed to be a parade truck again! Of course he would be the best looking, shiniest, brightest fire truck in any parade. The firefighters told him of plans they had to raise money to make him the star of the it's Better in Mentor Festival. He would have a big screen television with a DVD player, a robotic pump panel, and even a movie theater inside the cab! He could visit preschools and daycares again, and even block parties and festivals. Phillip would have three separate computers and even a bubble machine! He could fill helium balloons and hand out stickers with his picture on them. And of course- he could let kids sit in him and get their picture taken with him. Phillip then realized that retirement at Mentor Safety Village would be the best days of his life.
To view a printable pdf version of the Phillip The Firetruck story click on the fire truck below
To hear the Phillip The Fire Truck song click play on the player below
To view Phillip's appearances click on the Events Calendar
To view pictures of Phillips recent refurbishment click on the Friends of Phillip pictures page
To ask Phillip T. Pierce a question about safety or just to say Hi click the logo below. Phillip will personally respond to every E-Mail.
What can Phillip T. Pierce do?
The cab of Phillip will convert into a movie theater, with an interactive simulator that will allow children to virtually drive a fire engine to a fire. A navigator will guide them to the scene and warn them of trouble ahead. It will give adults tips on safe driving techniques to use when they are approached by emergency vehicles, and how to prevent accidents. Don't forget to buckle up! We are currently developing the simulator, and looking for sponsorship by an insurance company. Contact us for details!
Carry Vintage and Current Fire Equipment
A constantly changing rotation of vintage artifacts, fire and EMS equipment both old and new from our fire museum displays.
Take a Picture With Phillip
Phillip loves to get his picture taken with kids so much, we bought him his very own digital camera and printer for his birthday! Put on the fire gear and get your picture taken with Phillip, and we'll even print one off for you. Then look for your picture on our website under the Friends of Phillip section!
Show Safety Videos
Phillip will be equipped with a monitor in one of his compartments to show safety videos at appearances. This will also be used for troubled and disadvantaged youth programs.