By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Feb 07, 2018 at 1:02 PM

In recent years, the Milwaukee Fire Historical Society & Museum has been working to restore an old fire truck.

A 1949 Mack fire truck, Engine 9 (NOT the train from the song) worked in Milwaukee area firehouses for more than three decades – into the 1970s – and now it has been returned to its former glory and will reside at the society’s museum, 1615 W. Oklahoma Ave.

"We got Engine 9 about three years ago," says former firefighter and MFHS treasurer and newsletter editor Randy Leach. "We got it from Paul Conway, who is a former assistant chief. He donated it."

You can be among the first to see it when The Milwaukee Fire Historical Society & Museum hosts a "reveal" event as part of a fundraiser Friday, Feb. 16.

Proceeds from the event will help offset some of the costs incurred in the restoration of this classic vehicle.

Doors open for the event at 6 p.m. and introductions follow 45 minutes later. The big reveal is slated for 7 p.m. and there will be pizza (from Glorioso’s Market), soft drinks and a program, plus raffles and auctions beginning at 7:15 p.m.

Plus, you’ll get to see the great collection of vehicles, memorabilia and equipment on display at the Milwaukee Fire Museum, which is housed in one of Milwaukee’s five cool bungalow firehouses (all but one of which have been decommissioned).

The museum is run completely by volunteers, most of whom are retired Milwaukee firefighters, and it’s one of the best unsung museums in town.

Tickets to the event are $25 and you can get yours by mailing a check to Milwaukee Fire Historical Society & Museum, 1615 W. Oklahoma Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53215-4539, ordering online at or emailing Randy Leach at

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.