A home is ablaze. The local fire department is notified. They pull up to the scene, literally pulling a water pump on wagon wheels. These pumps-on-wheels seem unlikely, but they were the precursor to the modern fire truck. Today’s fire trucks are better equipped to save lives than ever before. They’re lightweight, can speed to the scene in minutes, and hold up to 4,000 gallons of water and equipment. Back in the 1700s and 1800s, fire apparatuses were slow-moving and ineffective. During colonial times, Americans kept a bucket of water on the front stoop during evening fires. Bucket brigades would then pass that water to extinguish the fire. Compared to this system, the fire pump on wheels was quite an improvement.