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The Pueblo Fire Department Museum



CLICK HERE for more photos from our investigation!


Fire Inspector Gary Micheli walks around in the upstairs bedroom of the old Hose Company No. 3 that also is known as Pueblo's Fire Museum, which is said to be haunted by a ghost. (Courtesy Pueblo Chieftain)


Micheli stands next to chief's replica Model T that witnesses say traveled driverless around the block and crashed into a trailer in the front entrance to the fire museum. (photo courtesy Pueblo Chieftain).

From the Pueblo Chieftain, Friday 14th March, 2008

Ghost hunters check out local museum


There just may be some truth to the stories that ghosts are hanging out in the former Hose Company No. 3 on Broadway Avenue, says a Boulder paranormal researcher.

"There is something definitely going on there," Richard Estep said Thursday after he and three other researchers spent Wednesday night at the former fire station, which now serves as a fire museum.

The building at 116 Broadway Ave. was built in 1881 and the last fire alarm sounded in 1979. Renamed Fire Station No. 3 in 1891, the building, operated by the Pueblo Firefighters Historical Society, continues its fire-related service to the community.

"We had some interesting stuff happen there," said Estep, a Boulder firefighter who does paranormal investigations or "ghost hunting" as a hobby. "We heard a couple footsteps around the bottom of the stairwell and one of our investigators also heard some breathing near the fire pole."

"We definitely are planning a second night of investigation."

Estep, Randy Schneider, Brad Carstens and Miranda Armstrong, all paranormal investigators from Northern Colorado were in Pueblo to investigate strange occurrences that have been reported at the fire station for years.

Firefighters who worked out of the station have told stories of how a hand print repeatedly appeared on an upstairs window, even after it had been repeatedly cleaned.

"They said the firemen even had a new window put in and that hand print still appeared," said Mark Pickerel, a Pueblo firefighter who took the researchers on a tour of the fire station Wednesday afternoon.

Pickerel said his father, Walt, was a firefighter at the former Fire Station No. 3 for years and had heard many tales of unexplained happenings at the station.

Among them was an incident in the 1950s when a pumper truck started up on its own and motored through the garage door.

Probably the most eerie occurrence took place two years ago, when an old Model T car, a replica of what the fire chief drove, mysteriously steered itself from outside the rear of the building. The car had been parked unattended with the engine idling, when it drove around the block and through a display of tombstones from the nearby mortuary before crashing into a trailer parked in front of the museum.

Gary Micheli, a local firefighter who helps operate the museum, told the investigators how he witnessed the incident as did several bystanders who saw the driverless car circling the block on its own.

Those strange incidents, in particular, were what lured the ghost hunters to Pueblo to see if they could determine a logical explanation for the happenings.

The team members, all working professionals, do paranormal research on the side. They do not charge for their investigations, which Estep said is necessary to protect of the integrity of the operations.

"If we were to take money, then there would be pressure for us to find something," he said. "What we are doing is purely for research purposes."

When he heard about the reported haunting at the fire museum, Estep said he asked if he could investigate the building.

"It sounds to me like a spirited fireman wanted to have some jollies," Estep said, his words tinged with his thick native British accent.

Pickerel welcomed the request because he is curious to know what's causing the oddities at the museum.

"Those of us who have spent some time in that building can feel something in that building," he said.

Pickerel said he's felt a strange force when he's been at the top of the steps of the two-story building.

He said some have felt forces in other locations in the building, while still others have reported hearing strange noises.

"I don't know, maybe it's just my mind messing with me, but it would be nice to know if there's something to all this," Pickerel said.

He said the team from Northern Colorado is the second paranormal research group to visit the museum in search of ghosts.

The first team reported that the only strange occurrence was when they went out an unlocked door and tried to return, and they felt an unknown force holding the door shut.

Estep's team arrived at the museum at about 5 p.m. Wednesday and stayed until about 9 a.m. Thursday conducting a variety of investigative tests.

Estep said it is important that investigators stay overnight as "the majority of activity takes place between midnight and 3 a.m. That's when it's the quietest and you can hear every little creaking sound. It's not the same at 3 p.m."

Schneider said the night also allows investigators to see some signs, such as a faint light that can't be detected during the day.

In an effort to legitimize the investigation, the team members are very conscious and careful of the process.

They requested the heat in the building be shut off for the night to prevent any unusual noises from the forced air furnace. They also established a temperature zone that was monitored throughout the night.

All windows and doors were sealed with tape to prevent unauthorized entry into the testing areas.

With high-powered voltage meters, they checked for electric current readings throughout the building. When readings were found, they were documented and the investigators attempted to determine a logical source of the power.

Shortly after beginning their testing, the crew found a high current reading from an old base station for the fire alarms in the southwest corner of the museum. There were no known electrical outlets or power lines in the vicinity, nor was the machine ever operated by electricity.

After the current was recorded, the group strategically placed video cameras and digital recorders in different locations in the museum in an attempt to record any suspicious appearances or noises. Their objective is to find logical explanations for appearances or sounds before reaching a paranormal explanation.

The team has not reviewed the video or audio recordings from the firehouse.

Estep said he's hopeful the recordings will verify the footsteps and breathing that was heard by team members.

He said the majority of his investigations are scientific, but Wednesday night the team veered slightly away from science and into the supernatural and spoke with an unidentified psychic about the fire museum.

He said the woman psychic, whose conversation by speaker phone was recorded, told them that the spirit in the station was a disgruntled former firefighter.

"He's very bitter and disenchanted with the fire service," he said. "She told us he had an aggressive spirit and she described in detail this angry personality."

Estep said the psychic added that the spirit is "a mischievous, deceitful character. She has even given us a name, ‘Larry.’ ”

Estep said it wasn't long after they were told of the spirit that investigators heard the footsteps.

"We tried to engage the entity in conversation to see what could occur," he said.

Although they did not hear any voices, Estep said when questions were asked, investigators measured the electrical current.

"We were getting some pretty interesting fluctuations."

Although Estep said he wouldn't characterize the occurrences as "spectacular," he was pleased they had some activity.

"Ninety-five percent of the time we're sitting in a cold, dark building for nothing," he said. "But that 5 percent of the time (when something happens), that makes it all worthwhile."


Pueblo's Fire Museum is located on the Mesa Junction at 116 Broadway Ave.  (photo courtesy Pueblo Chieftain).

The "C" (rear) side of the building
The original block and tackle used to hoist hay into the uptairs hayloft is still in place

Front Bay Doors
Opening onto Broadway, the engine bay doorway on the building's A side

Rear view of the structure
Note the proximity of power lines all around the firehouse.