North Charleston & American LaFrance Museum Stays Open

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Things continue to be on course at the North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum and Educational Center here.

Last month, American LaFrance filed for bankruptcy citing a number of financial shortcomings.

"We will not be affected by it at all," said Renee Frye, museum director. "We are open for business."

Frye noted that the museum is actually owned by the city of North Charleston.

"For that reason, we don't anticipate any changes," she said.

Museum Curator Grant Mishoe said he is confident that the museum's collection is safe. A number of antique American LaFrance hose reels, engines and other vehicles are on display in the facility.

"We are autonomous," Mishoe said. "We have an agreement in regard to the collection."

Museum officials are always looking for pieces to preserve and share with the nation's fire service community. About a month ago, they purchased a 1956 710 PMO from the Napoleon Fire Department in Ohio.

"It's absolutely gorgeous. We won't change a thing on it. We'll preserve it as is," Mishoe said, adding that the museum has several other gems to see.

The facility also features a number of different exhibits. This month, there's a special display honoring black firefighters.

In addition to learning about the past, visitors also have the chance to see what it's like to drive a rig.

The simulator allows people to experience the challenges faced daily by firefighters responding to emergencies. "It's unbelievable. It really makes you feel like you're behind the wheel..."

Later this month, fire museum officials from around the country will gather at the North Charleston facility for a conference.

For more information North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum and Educational Center