East Williston (NY) Welcomes Back First Fire Apparatus

The East Williston Fire Department’s first fire truck has now rolled into a permanent place of honor in the village.

Village of East Williston East Williston Fire Department officials rededicated the restored 1929 Maxim pumper truck that was the village’s first fire vehicle last Saturday and dedicated the garage built to house the truck at a ceremony attended by village, town, county and fire officials.

“The Maxim restored pumper is a symbol of the pride we feel for our village,” East Williston village historian emeritus Tom Mohrman said at Saturday’s ceremony. “Many volunteers were needed to restore this rusted truck to its current condition.”

The pumper, purchased for $8,000, served the village for 26 years before being retired in 1955 and sold to a construction company for $500.

That was the end of the story until members of the Great Neck Alert Fire Company, searching for one of their company’s vintage trucks Upstate, discovered the ‘29 Maxim pumper in a barn near the Canadian border.

They wiped one side of the engine housing, saw the faded East Williston Fire Department name and alerted their East Williston counterparts.

Great Neck Alert also put the vehicle on a flatbed truck and brought it back to the East Williston department’s headquarters.

The initial phase of the truck’s restoration was completed in the early 1990s, according to Mohrman, who said it’s still “a work in progress.”

He said students in a Wheatley School woodworking class are planning to restore the truck’s wooden running boards later this year.

The restoration work, which to date has cost approximately $30,000, has been paid for by contributions and fundraisers such as the carnival at Wiliston Day, Mohrman said.
No tax dollars, he said, have been used.

“Many volunteers in the fire department have been involved in this for the last 30 years. It’s great that it’s near the finish line now and we’ll be able to start using it on a regular basis,” said former East Williston Fire Department Captain Tom Devaney. “It’s a big piece of the history.”

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