Few fire trucks have logged the miles or seen the breadth of the country of East Hampton Fire Department’s “Old No. 5” truck.
The truck, a 1935 Ford/Sea Grade, returned to East Hampton this fall after being donated back to the fire department that originally purchased it by its longtime owner and caretaker, John Hiscock.
The truck was originally purchased by the East Hampton Fire Department in 1935 for use by Engine Company No. 5. After 25 years of service it was retired and donated to Camp St. Regis in Northwest Woods, where it became little more than a jungle gym for kids to play on.
Another 20 years on, with reverence for historic equipment building among firemen, the truck was donated back to the department, now in decrepit shape from years of wear and tear by weather and little hands.
Resurrected as Old No. 5 of the “Maidstone Fire Department” –a nod to the former fire district that covered the oldest settlements in East Hampton–the vehicle became a showpiece that Mr. Hiscock and some friends began driving to fairs and fire department gatherings around the country. It visited, under its own power, all of the lower 48 states.
And Old No. 5’s life in active service was not over either. When Hurricane Andrew devastated southern Florida in 1992, Mr. Hiscock and the crew of the Maidstone Fire Department saw that they possessed a unique piece of equipment for the day. Small in size, but able to tote much heavier cargo than other trucks its size, Old No. 5 joined the relief effort, ferrying supplies to areas where larger trucks could not navigate through debris from the storm.
Old No. 5 will join EHFD’s small collection of early 20th Century, hand-drawn apparatus and participate in fire department parades.
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