Introduction

LEGO Classic
Main view
LEGO company released lots of firefighters sets in 70s. You can find many of fire trucks and couple of fire stations in Legoland theme. Vehicles and buildings, however, were disproportionate to the figures appeared in different scales. For example, the cars can be compared from sets presented in the picture below.
LEGO Classic
Firefighters in 70s
 
In my humble opinion this was a trial period. LEGO designers tested different concepts and tried to take the best route. Vehicles as you can see are big or in the micro scale or in normal scale with first version of the mini-figures. If you place them all together, it would probably look a bit odd. However, in the early 80s, LEGO designers theme initiated a new period in the form of Town theme. At this point, they have already begun to use the predefined patterns with movable minifigures and thus started the most interesting period in the history of LEGO for that time. I will discuss below all the firefighters sets, which were released in the 80s. Most of them are shown in the picture above. All buildings and vehicles fit together without any problem, which proves the usage of uniform design patterns. I think it was one of the most important features of each theme from the 80s and 90s. Not only the quality of bricks, building techniques or easy to use instructions, but the fact that all vehicles and buildings were subordinated to specific patterns and therefore fit perfectly together in any layout. There are plenty of possibilities to create different sceneries.
I present the scenery from 1981 US catalog, where you can see the fire station in the background.
LEGO Classic
Source: Brickset.com 1981us.pdf Catalogue 1981 US: Page 4 and 5

Fire station buildings

LEGO Classic
Firefighter's stations
 
Despite the high popularity of firefighters sets, it can be noticed that LEGO designers have tried to limit number of sets and think ten times before release. This resulted in the creation of two quite interesting buildings for firefighters. Each fire station building in the 80s and even 90s have garages with sectional doors. This is one of the coolest things. First base is a 6382-1: Fire Station, which had two vehicles included. The commander's car with hose and truck with rotatable drop-down ladder. Second base released four years later in a set of 6385-1: Fire House is very similar. Two garages on the sides with the command center in the middle. Doors and windows are even similar, but with one difference - blue color this time. The car no longer has a hose, instead it has a trunk to carry fire extinguisher or other things. Fire truck, however, has perpendicular windscreen and besides that it has the same features as the retractable hose or rotatable drop-down ladder.
These buildings were present at more than one catalog's presentation and I think the garage gates were the main reason for it's success. Of course, I do not want to underestimate other interesting features as already mentioned retractable hose or rotatable drop-down ladder. The most interesting element for me was always the construction process of these interesting structures. Nevertheless, when it comes to playability with assembled set, the functionalities are the most important.
I present the reconstruction of the catalog's presentation from 1988 below, where fire station building from 6382-1: Fire Station were used by me and 6385-1: Fire House was used originally. You can see more over here: Airporen.
It should also be noted that buildings and vehicles had always got at least one bigger or smaller fire department logo. Aside from the fact that firefighters can be mostly regognized by the red color, the logo with two flames or two axes and a helmet will leave no doubt. Firefighters logo remained constant throughout the whole Town theme and two flames on a black background were present on every vehicle. It is a quite interesting situation, because the logo of the police or medics changed in the 90s. In this case, that did not happen.

Vehicles

LEGO Classic
Snorkel Squad
Lets begin with the most interesting set, which definitely is the long fire truck - snorkel squad. Vehicle included in 6690-1: Snorkel Pumper, however, is a little archaic and although the mechanism used here is built using universal bricks only, it is a bit odd. The arm looks like a caricature. Maybe the use of a narrower hinge would be better. Nevertheless the idea of lift build out of the universal bricks deserves recognition. The next, more desirable fire truck from 6358-1: Snorkel Squad set is quite interesting. It bend in two points and it has an extendable arm with a basket in the form of two unique parts. The supports on both sides is quite fragile though, which usually fell apart or handles got broken.
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Source: Brickset.com 1987uk2.pdf Catalogue 1987 UK II: Page 18 and 19
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Firefighter's trucks
Fire trucks got theirs place between small sets too. Small truck with retractable hose was included in 6650-1: Fire and Rescue Van set. Great help during extinguishing smaller fire at a lower level. The second proposal available with 6621-1: Fire Truck set was a bit odd. This is actually a small truck with a open cabin, without a fire hose but still with rotatable ladder. Fireman has to deal with fire using small extinguisher.
LEGO Classic
Source: Brickset.com 1986uk2.pdf Catalogue 1986 UK II: Page 18 and 19
LEGO Classic
Firefighter's trucks
This is not the end of fire trucks in independent sets. One of the most popular models are those with sound and light functions. Fire truck in such option could not be missing too. LEGO-6480-1 offers such a vehicle, in which practically the whole body took the container on a 9V battery. Nevertheless, the retractable hose along with a rotatable drop-down ladder was mounted in appriopriate place. 6366-1: Fire & Rescue Squad is however quite unique proposition. Red motor with the window was included here, which is unique and you will not find it in any other set of firefighters. Fire truck is quite common though. Retractable fire hose and rotatable ladder, not expandable this time. In addition, there is a small vehicle with a trunk, which can be used for delivery of extinguishers. It is quite interesting composition.
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Source: Brickset.com 1988us.pdf Catalogue 1988 US: Page 10 and 11: Town
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Firefighter's air support
This is all when it comes to fire trucks with extinguishing possibilities. Next in line is the air support. Firefighters buildings surprisingly did not contain any helicopter, thus helipad was not included too. Nevertheless, two helicopters have been released as separate 6685-1: Fire Copter and 6657-1: Fire Patrol Copter sets. Both have an old type of propellers and they are quite clumsy in appearance. However, fire hoses are present along with additional container for oxygen tank or a shortwave.
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Source: Brickset.com 1982eu2.pdf Catalogue 1982 EU II: Page 4 and 5
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Firefighter's chief car
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Firefighter's chief truck
Chief cars left at the end. They were the smallest sets offering as you can see small vehicles without a roof. The first included in the 6611-1: Fire Chief's Car set is actually a go-cart, which is rather meant to use on short distances. The second car from 6505-1: Fire Chief's Car set resembles an ordinary small convertible. That's not all, because chief deserved for a bigger off-road vehicle too, which was released in 1988 with  LEGO-6643-1 set. The vehicle has closed cabin this time, large wheels and trunk with windows, where he can store an oxygen tank, a fire extinguisher and an axe.
LEGO Classic
Firefighter's boats
Last firefighter sets released in the 80s are the boats. These two boats do not belong to the Town theme, but to Boats theme because of the special hull usage in the form of one giant piece that allows floating on water. I'm not sure how it is in the case of small boat from LEGO-4025-1 set as the hull is made up of several components and it is possible it will leak. However, the other boat released five years later in a set of LEGO-4020-1 has an one-piece hull and certainly floats on water. Both boats contain several firefighting cannons and one rotating and retractable platform.
LEGO Classic
Source: Brickset.com 1989us2.pdf Catalogue 1989 US II: Page 18: Boats

Summary

In my humble opinion, firefighters sets released in the 80s were very successful. I think the designers have tried very hard to do something unique and interesting. Each set contained a number of alternative proposals on the back of the packaging, what gave a whole bunch of different ideas for vehicles and buildings. In addition, the functionalities used in vehicles gave the possibilities to play for long hours. All of this was completed by the rigor of uniform design patterns usage. Thanks to this, you can combine all the sets together without any problems, as can be seen in every scenery available at Clabrisic and in particular the one presented here. I invite you to see the whole gallery available below.
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