Father and Son Recognized for Contribution to LAFD’s Historic “Bandwagon” Detail

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

LOS ANGELES - On November 6, 2018, the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) recognized Retired Firefighter Phil Weireter and his son, Captain/PIO Cody Weireter, for their many years of exceptional professionalism and service to the department and the communities it serves as members of the LAFD’s historic “Bandwagon” detail.

Spanning two generations of the Weireter's family, the story began exactly 40 years ago in 1978 when Phil was asked to drive an old fire engine because of his Class “A” commercial driver’s license. The “Old Fire Engine,” as it turned out, was a 1931-built Segrave Hose Wagon, more commonly known as the LAFD’s “Bandwagon.” The Bandwagon was in active service to the City of Los Angeles from 1931-1965. After this first experience with the Bandwagon, Phil developed a passion to maintain and operate it - often taking it to city, cultural, religious, department events and parades. It’s no surprise that young Cody, who often rode in the engine next to his father, not only went on to join the LAFD himself but also began working with his father to maintain the historic apparatus. 
The Bandwagon continues to be the LAFD’s only historical apparatus still owned by the City of Los Angeles. Council members, fire commissioners, command staff, local and foreign dignitaries, and yes, even Santa Claus have all been passengers on the iconic engine. Maintaining an 87-year-old piece of equipment, particularly one that must utilize the busy roads and freeways of Los Angeles, is no easy task. It is close to impossible to identify the amount of volunteer hours that both Weireters have dedicated as ambassadors for the LAFD to continue the legacy of the department. 
Although Phil retired from the LAFD in 2013, his passion to serve as an ambassador of the department has continued. With the support of each Fire Chief in command since, he has operated the Bandwagon for parades, special events and static displays across the City along with Cody. It’s Important to mention that both Phil and Cody have served in the capacity of Public Information Officers, proudly representing the LAFD during some of the largest events in the city’s history. 
When you ask either of the two why they would stand next to the Bandwagon during events that can last for up to six to eight hours hours on a weekend...they simply smile and reply, “It’s a win for the fire department. This apparatus opens the dialogue with the public and often takes what starts as a question about how old the engine is and leads to how the LAFD currently strives to keep their family safe.”
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