East Williston (NY) Brings Home Antique Fire Apparatus

East Williston’s original fire pumper has found a permanent home, capping a more than half-century second act as a nomadic truck.

Retired in 1955, the 1929 Maxim pumper left the village, and was sold upstate to irrigate farmland. In 1981, according to the recollection of firefighters, a Huntington Manor firefighter spotted it upstate, 45 miles south of Montreal. The village, eager to reclaim its history, bought it back, and for a while, it was the village’s go-to truck for parades and civic functions, stored conveniently in the firehouse.

But in the years that followed, it has bounced around various facilities, been jettisoned to body shops and used rarely. Storage costs and space limits loomed large as village officials sought permanent solutions.

Inactivity nearly doomed it. “It almost got lost again,” said Thomas Devaney, a former captain of the East Williston Fire Department.

The fix is a new, one-bay garage, opened this month on the Village Green, after the village availed the property to The Volunteer and Exempt Firemens Benevolent Association of East Williston. The fire department’s nonprofit arm paid and built the roughly $30,000 garage entirely through donations.

The garage marks the end of a long quest to embrace the pumper.

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