WEST BEND — Both the West Bend and Town of Sheboygan fire departments recently added new vintage fire trucks to their fleets.
The West Bend Fire Department recently refurbished a 1929 Model Ford A fire truck. According to the fire department, they believe it was originally owned by the Germantown Fire Department and then purchased by the West Bend FD in the 1940s.
"The records were bad back in the day, so this could have been an actual working engine for the West Bend Fire Department sometime in the 1940s," said Captain Kenny Asselin, the fire prevention captain, said.
He added that it hasn't been used in a firefighting capacity in at least 50 years. It went to the West Bend Firefighters Club, but when the club was disbanded, the truck changed hands to the city. It was used in various parades, but it became too expensive to continue with scheduled maintenance. It sat in a garage for a few years until the Historic Barton Business Association donated money for the parts and Vrana Frame and Body Shop donated its time to fix the truck.
Not many people actually know how to drive this vintage truck. Mike Weston, a retired firefighter in West Bend, is the guy who will eventually teach some of the younger members how to drive it.
As for the response time of a nearly 100-year-old fire truck? Well, let's be happy technology has improved.
"It would be kind of slow. I think we would be waiting a while," Weston said.
TOWN OF SHEBOYGAN
The Town of Sheboygan recently got its hands on a vintage 1952 International transport fire truck from an unlikely source: a man in Georgia.
"I believe the gentleman bought it on eBay," Tim Ellis, the secretary-treasurer of the Town of Sheboygan Fire Department, said.
The man is known to be a collector of old fire trucks, according to Ellis. He refurbished the truck and got it into working condition. Then after he held onto it for a while, he called the fire department and asked if they wanted the truck.
The truck was used by the town in the 60s and 70s, according to Ellis. Its modern-day equivalent would be a heavy-duty pickup truck that would transport the chief and other fire officers. It didn't actually fight fires. The truck hasn't been used in any official capacity for decades.
The transport vehicle still starts. However, multiple cosmetic details need to be touched up before it becomes parade-ready.