Built in 1996, this firehouse is wonderful addition to the Village and houses a 1919 La France Fire Engine that was originally used at the Belleview- Biltmore Hotel in Belleair.
The Story... Frances
The American La France fire engine, nicknamed ‘Frances’, went into service at the Belleview Hotel in 1917. Imagine a hotel with its own fire truck! The self-sufficient hotel, one of the largest structures on the Pinellas Peninsula, had its own water system, police and fire protection. Frances was a sentinel protecting the extravagant wooden hotel until 1934. Capable of pumping 375 gallons of water per minute, this top-of-the-line truck carries a 30-foot extension ladder, searchlight, locomotive bell with clapper and an electric siren horn.
The hotel gave Frances to the town of Belleair in 1934 where she helped fight fires for 30 years. Several individuals and groups cared for Frances, but by 1979 a retired fire captain rescued her from a junkyard in Tarpon Springs and spent the next 7 years restoring her to original condition. She went ‘home’ to the town of Belleair for about 10 years before coming to Heritage Village.