Wichita parade attracts fire truck aficionados

Gerald and Darlene Jackson have been coming to the Firefighters Museum Parade ever since their youngest boys began showing a big interest in fire trucks.

"This one's all about fire engines," Darlene Jackson said Saturday, pointing to Matthew, 3.

"So's this one," Gerald Jackson said of Alex, 6. "We've been coming for about four years. This year, we have a son in it."

Their oldest, seventh-grader Tristan Baker, was marching with the Hamilton Middle School ROTC squad, which led the parade up Broadway from

Pawnee to Lincoln.

Hamilton parents were among the few who came out on the 40-degree, cloudy afternoon.

Antique fire engines, which are usually on display in the museum, and a smoldering house on wheels, courtesy of the Derby Fire and Rescue unit, were also a part of the parade.

It ended at the Kansas Firefighters Museum and the South Central Neighborhood Fall Festival at adjacent Lincoln Park, which offered free hot dogs to visitors.

The celebration turns somber today when the name of a Topeka firefighter is added to the museum's Fallen Firefighters Memorial in a ceremony honoring Kansas firefighters who have died in the line of duty.

Silas Brown was killed in 1926 when he fell from an aerial firetruck that was rushing to a blaze. His name was discovered during a search for unrelated information about another fallen firefighter from the 1950s.