About UNYFT


UnyqueFireTrucks.com is a showcase of the work of Tom Rinelli, an avid

firematic photographer and historian based on Long Island, New York

who travels throughout the Northeast (and beyond).  


​This website is designed to showcase the fire service in a positive light.

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/agencies shown. Any corrections

and/or updates are welcomed. 


What's with the name "Unyque" Fire Trucks?

The unique 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 wide spectrum be it a different color scheme (a particular

favorite of mine), a “one-off job” or a rig with a storied past. The fire service is full

of tradition, history and stories, particularly regarding apparatus (remember

Every Fire Truck Has A Story) - as a steward of history, 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 Unyque Fire Trucks?

That would be me, Tom Rinelli - a 35+ year veteran of 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).

As a steward of history, I have the honor of being the charter historian for the

Islip Town Fire & EMS Museum and Education Center that showcases the rich

history of over twenty volunteer fire departments serving the Township of Islip

for over 125 years.   


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 (and beyond). I can be found photographing apparatus at firehouses, parades, musters, trade shows and just about any other firematic event. As a self employed Pet CPR & First Aid training instructor (yes, you can do

CPR on a dog/cat...check out my website @  Paws N Claws 911), I often visit firehouses while teaching/traveling across the Northeast (and beyond). 


My work has been published in the Long Island (New York), New Jersey and

New England editions of Fire News, Fire Engineering, "The Volunteer Firefighter"

(the official publication of the Firefighters Association of the State of New York)

as well as numerous department websites, calendars and other formats.    


I photograph apparatus as well as anything firematic related year-round. 

Unlike some photographers who only shoot posed rigs in peak lighting conditions, 

I shoot year round in all weather conditions (be it the prime of summer or standing atop a snow bank). 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 unyque Hahn ten man split tilt cab engine (reportedly one of

only three ever built) at one of New York City's volunteer fire departments (yes,

there are vollie depts. in NYC...stay tuned for a future feature article with more details) in the Fall of 2012...twelve days later during Super Storm Sandy this rig

was destroyed by an electrical fire in the motor while pumping in waist high floodwaters at a working house fire!   


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. Following my visits, I provide high resolution images to the

host department for non-commercial use on their website, calendar, etc.


While it has never been my intent to make money off my photography, many of

my followers have expressed an interest in purchasing my work. Accordingly,

through the use of the SmugMug hosting platform, I am now able to offer my

photos in a variety of sizes, styles and formats including digital downloads.

Please consider making a purchase to support the site as traveling the backroads

of America to provide viewing access to apparatus most people would never have

the opportunity to see incurs costs for fuel, equipment, etc.   


For those looking to use my photos for a commercial purpose, you will find digital downloads (single photo or entire gallery) appropriately detailed using the "Buy Photo" button in the lower right corner of the photos. For any other needs,

feel free to contact me @ unyquefiretrucks@gmail.com


Hey, where's our rigs? How can we see them featured on the site?

Simple - send me an invite by e-mail (unyquefiretrucks@gmail.com) and 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 traveling/teaching, during parades or on vacation so it may not be immediately feasible for me to visit your department (but I will certainly make every reasonable effort to do so). 


Do you accept photos to post on the website?

Due to copyright issues, I do not post pictures other than my own on this 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 photos of my own!


How can we help make the site better? 

That’s easy!! Help me arrange a visit to your department, advise of changes

in your apparatus fleet (new deliveries, reassignments, 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 is 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, then please let me know why!

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