Frequently Asked Questions


What is “UNYQUEFIRETRUCKS.com”?

This website is a showcase of the firematic photo collection of Tom Rinelli - since photo albums are a thing of the past, I have begun the on-going project of creating this website to display my photos for all to see & enjoy.


Since returning to photography in 2007 and “taking the plunge to digital”, I have shot more than 25,000 images of anything firematic related from apparatus to memorial monuments to artwork and pretty much everything in between. As you can imagine, the organization, editing and posting of these photos is a daunting task yet it is a labor of love that I truly enjoy (at least that’s what I keep telling myself!!).


What’s with the name “UNYQUE” FIRE TRUCKS?

The unyque spelling of the name is a play on words designed to highlight both my focus of photography (unique fire trucks) and where I am proud to call home (New York...Long Island specifically). The term unyque in relation to fire apparatus spans a whole spectrum whether it’s a unique color, a “one-off job” or a rig with a storied past. I have always enjoyed history and the fire service is full of tradition, history and stories, particularly regarding apparatus (remember....Every Fire Truck Has A Story) so I have included many of these stories on the site. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have enjoyed hearing them over the years.


Who is “the face behind the camera” of UNYFT?

That would be me, Tom Rinelli. A 29 year veteran of the volunteer emergency services, I have been photographing fire apparatus since the age of 15 as a junior fireman (actually even younger if you count the days of 110 film cameras & Polaroids). Having returned to photography in 2007 after a long hiatus, I “went digital” and have been photographing anything related to the fire service throughout my travels across the Northeast. I can be found shooting apparatus at firehouses, parades, musters, wet downs, at trade shows and just about any other firematic event in Southern New York and surrounding states. As a self employed fire equipment distributor by trade (Fire Rescue Outfitters), I often visit firehouses while exhibiting at trade shows out of state or in other areas of New York (I’ve always said I have the greatest job as “I get paid to buff”).


I photograph apparatus as well as anything firematic related year-round. Unlike some photographers who only shoot posed rigs in peak lighting conditions, I subscribe to the philosophy of “a bad picture is better than no picture at all”. While I certainly prefer optimal conditions, I treat each photo as a once in a lifetime opportunity - quite simply, you never know when (if ever) you’ll get the chance to take that shot again. Here’s a prime example - I photographed a kitschy sign outside the Bird-In Hand Fire Company in the heart  of Amish country (Lancaster County, Pennsylvania) while on an annual visit to the area. Fast forward one year later and the sign (post & all) was gone!!!


Can we use your photos on our website”?

All the photos within this website were taken by me, Tom Rinelli and as such are copyright protected. If you wish to use any of these photos for a non-commercial purpose such as on your department’s website, you must contact me for permission. All I ask for is proper credit in the form of specific information that must appear on the photo. I will be happy to provide high quality JPEG images for use on your website, calendar, etc. Simply contact me via e-mail & I will be happy to work with you.


“Hey, where’s our rigs?! How do we get them on the site?”

Simple - drop me an e-mail & we’ll set something up!! Bear in mind that the farther you are from Long Island, New York may require some planning to schedule. I photograph many out of state rigs while at parades, during visits while traveling or on vacation so it may not be immediately feasible for me to visit your department.


“Do you accept pictures to post on the site”?

Due to copyright issues & space limitations, I do not post pictures other than my own on the site. If you wish to send a unique picture simply for sharing, I will be happy to check it out. Rest assured that I will not post your picture or take credit for it - trust me, I’ve got enough of my own!!!


“How can we help make the site even better”?

That’s easy!! Help me arrange a visit to your department, advise of changes in your apparatus fleet (new deliveries, rehabs, etc.) and provide updated information on your rigs. I make a concerted effort to get the specs (and the story, remember every fire truck has a story) for the rigs I shoot but sometimes it’s just not available or on a rare occasion, it’s incorrect. Also, spread the word about the site - if you like it, let the brothers/sisters know about it!! And if for some strange reason you don’t like it, then please let me know why!!!


I hope you enjoy the site!!!


Disclaimer: This website is intended for entertainment purposes only. The information contained herein is considered to be accurate, however, it is not intended as an official representation of any of the departments or organizations shown. Any corrections/updates are welcomed.