It’s got a mouthful of a name, but the new North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum and Educational Center (4975 Centre Pointe Dr., 843/740-5550, www.legacyofheroes.org , Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. 1–5 p.m., last ticket 4 p.m., $6 adults, children 13 and under free), right next to the huge Tanger Outlet Mall, does what it does with a lot of chutzpah—which is fitting considering that it pays tribute to firefighters and the tools of their dangerous trade.
The North Charleston Fire Museum, which opened in 2007 and shares a huge 25,000-square-foot space with the North Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, is primarily dedicated to maintaining and increasing its collection of antique American LaFrance firefighting vehicles and equipment. The 18 fire engines here date from 1857 to 1969.
The museum’s exhibits have taken on greater poignancy in the wake of the tragic loss of nine Charleston  firefighters killed trying to extinguish a warehouse blaze on U.S. 17 in summer 2007—second only to the 9/11 attacks as the largest single loss of life for a U.S. firefighting department.