The History of Columbus FD Engine 18

Posted on February 7, 2019
Categories: Company Updates

This winter Engine 18 from the Columbus Fire Division found a new home – the ESO Fire Division office in Des Moines, Iowa. It is highly important to the whole ESO team that our mission and our customers are the heart and soul of everything we do. That’s why both of our office locations have retired vehicles featured – an ambulance in Austin and Engine 18 in Des Moines.

Retired Captain Steven Heselden shares a little about the history of Engine 18 with us below.

My Story with Engine 18

By Captain Steven B. Heselden, Columbus Fire Division


I transferred to Station 18 (“18’s” as we say) as the house captain in late 2001. The station was an older firehouse, built in 1926, and every engine it housed had to be specially made to fit its length and height. As captain, I was tasked with measuring the bay so the new engine we were purchasing would fit. It was the first time I had been involved in a purchase, and I appreciated the opportunity to weigh in a little on one of the most important pieces of equipment our crew would have.

The engine arrived in 2003. It seated two up front and four in the back. Our district, South Linden, was relatively small – only a few square miles – but we still had a lot of activity. It was just north of downtown Columbus, close to the Ohio State fairgrounds. As an economically depressed area, we tended to offer a lot of medical support to its residents. We would regularly receive calls from folks who couldn’t afford to see doctors but needed help.

One thing that stands out was our crew’s success with cardiac arrest calls. It was a team effort, and we were highly trained. From drug administration to running the EKG machine to performing chest compressions to documenting the whole thing, the entire crew worked together. Seeing a cardiac arrest patient start breathing on their own again is a satisfying event, and I’m pleased to say it happened quite a bit for our crew.

Engine 18 ran, on average, 2,500-2,800 calls per year from the time she arrived in 2003 until her retirement in 2012. I think we can safely say she ran 30,000+ calls in her active years. That’s 30,000 times the people of Columbus were served and Engine 18 was part of it. That’s a good run.

The fire service is rich in preservation and tradition. As a history buff and preservationist myself, it means a lot to me to see Engine 18 preserved by ESO. For many engines, once active duty is complete they go to the junkyard, just plain worn out – or they become a source of parts for other engines. Some find a second life with a smaller department – and that’s wonderful. Not many are preserved to help inspire a workforce. I’m very pleased that ESO Des Moines is Engine 18’s new home, and I look forward to sharing this story with the Station 18 crew next time I see them.

See Engine 18

If you’d like to see Engine 18 for yourself, visit the ESO Des Moines office. We’re open Monday – Friday and welcome visitors who, like us, are passionate about the fire service and improving community health and safety.