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I purchased the MTH IRS on fire building used, no box nor instructions - 30-9156. Other than some green algae/mold on the roof, it seems in good shape. It consists of the building and firemen, one of whom is connected to a rubber hose that I think connects inside the building. Inside the building there's a couple of compartments, presumably a water pump and lighting circuit box. MTH's website has a zip file for download, but I only found it contains a jpg picture of the item. Does anyone know has this accessory operates? Where do you put the water, and how much voltage does it need? Is there an on/off switch such that if you don't want the water effect from the firehose you can just have the flashing fire effect lights?

According to MTH's site, this item was made in 2005. Thirty some odd years earlier, back in the early 1970s, whenever my father drove us past the IRS building in NE Philly he would boo and hiss. Some things never change.

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@Paul Kallus posted:

Does anyone know has this accessory operates? Identical to the burning house, since it's the same mechanism.

Where do you put the water According to Burning Townhouse manual- 1/4 cup of water.

and how much voltage does it need? 12-18V AC

Is there an on/off switch such that if you don't want the water effect from the firehose you can just have the flashing fire effect lights? NO SWITCH.

Simply do not add water. The pump motor ALSO spins the plastic tube making the flame effect so there is no turning off the pump. It can be run without water and no damage.

I would follow the SAME instructions for the burning house, since it's the same thing in a different building.

If you cannot safely figure out the water- I would recommend not using water in this accessory on your layout- but hey, that's just me.

The burning house manual https://mthtrains.com/sites/de...ction/30as18339i.pdf

Screen Shot 2023-10-26 at 11.41.54 AM

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Last edited by Vernon Barry

I can't help with directions, but noted that in the MTH double track arch bridge with the beacon on top, a simple circuit, there was also no instructions on how to light it up, voltage requirements specs, nothing.   Not to derail this inquiry, but does anybody remember the, I think Kenner, building sets that was all red I beams and pedestals you built a modern building with, snapping formed plastic panels onto the structure to fill it out?  What brought this to mind was Bill's real water model, because Kenner also made a water model using the same red I beams and pedestals, but its base was a big plastic pan with a pump and reservoir on each end, and you built things like distilleries, oil cracking plants, and other industrial buildings, using all kinds of tanks, valves, siphons, and other items, and ran water through them, and you could add color to the water with a set of color dye tablets.  Why don't they make toys like that anymore?



I actually found a picture of the Hydro Dynamic building sets and discovered the real name for these were 'Girder and Panel' building sets.

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Last edited by CALNNC
@CALNNC posted:

Why don't they make toys like that anymore?

Well, they have, at least recently. I was able to revive a stuck #38 operating water tower recently, which has an internal "water feature":

Pump opened up for testing:

With roof off, after repair to pump:

As installed on layout:

[Apologies for the poor quality video -- I plan to shoot a better video later, showing my Marx 1829 smoker pulling into position to take on a water load, then returning to service after topping off, when I finally get around to it! ]

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Last edited by Steve Tyler
@Steve Tyler posted:

Well, they have, at least recently. I was able to revive a stuck #38 operating water tower recently, which has an internal "water feature":

And, foreshadowing-  the reason that accessory seized up is the fact the motor and the materials (bushing, motor can, shaft) along with the seal on the shaft do not protect the motor well from the water. So water weeps up the shaft, forces any lube out of the motor bushing, and then typically the motor internally rusts and locks up.

Now yes, the MTH one specifically uses a motor with a very long shaft, hopefully placing the same can type motor well above the water level and pump head down low on the motor shaft. That said, it's still generally around the water.

What I'm getting at is, MTH maybe saw some of the pitfalls of the Lionel water tower pump failures, or just knowing water and metal construction, specifically tried to design the pump around known failure modes of water weeping into the motor shaft bushing area.

Again, the takeaway is, water+ these tiny little can motor pumps, with at best a rubber seal on the shaft, not to mention a motor not specifically 100% "waterproof" well, it just may not last forever, the bushing might get contaminated with water or just run dry without lube (that classic motor growl and squeal- worse than nails on a chalkboard), the inspection molded plastic housings do not have oil or lube holes- kind of treating it maintenance free- which we know not to exist in this hobby.

Again, overall, while it sounds fun, I would avoid water on my personal layout- but that's just my choice.

Last edited by Vernon Barry

Thanks Vernon. I didn't know MTH also made a townhouse with the effect. The video you shared was a hoot! Obviously, these accessories should be used in places where water damage is not a concern

In my earlier search for help, I ran across this video - Lionel HO scale house on fire, though no water involved from what I can see. It's an awesome-looking building and effects.

Lionel HO scale on fire building kit video - Google Search

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