Grand Forks (ND) Fire Apparatus Gets New Life

A rare 1928 American LaFrance combination 1,000-gallon-per-minute fire truck the Grand Forks Fire Department (ND) used for 38 years is being restored.

“It’s 85 years old,” said Gary Walding, a Texas collector and restorer of antique fire equipment. “There’s a lot of history there. There’s still a lot of people alive in Grand Forks who know this fire truck.”

Walding, who operates Walding and Sons Classic Cars in League City (TX) recently purchased the fire truck from a private party in California.

The truck, complete with most of its original equipment, including ladders, still sports the name “Grand Forks Fire Department” in fading letters.

“What really makes it unique is that it is one of only three in the country with a windshield,” Walding said in a telephone interview.
He plans to restore the lettering, too, keeping its connection to Grand Forks.

Walding is searching for old photographs, preferably of the firefighting apparatus at the scene of a fire in Grand Forks, and other memorabilia.

The fire truck already has gone through about 300 hours of restoration, he said, with two people working on it nearly full time. The engine is being completely rebuilt.

It’ll take 3,000 to 4,000 hours, and at least $60,000 to $65,000 to complete the job. When finished, he estimates it will be worth $100,000.

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