A completely restored 1931 fire truck once belonging to the Harrington Fire Company will return to that city and will take part in the annual Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association parade in Dover this Saturday.
That the truck even exists today, more than 80 years after it rolled off Wilmington’s U.S. Fire Apparatus Company’s assembly line, is a testament to two Virginia brothers, Derek and Jim Hart, who completely refurbished the vehicle over a two-year period.
The sparse records from that time don’t have a definitive means of identifying the vehicle, such as a serial number, Harrington EMS Capt. Rob Taylor said. However, conversations with the people who sold the truck to the Hart family in 1987 and comparisons with contemporary photos convinced Taylor and the Harts that they had the real deal.
The Harrington Fire Company paid $7,500 for the truck, which was first used on March 29, 1931. Although the company was strictly a men-only organization at the time, Harrington’s Martha Smith often drove while responding to alarms while men were in the military during World War II. Unfortunately, costs and maintenance issues forced the company to sell the truck in 1952.
From there, it passed through a number of hands before Derek and Jim Hart’s father bought it for $800 in 1987. But the senior Hart never got around to refurbishing the truck, so his sons did it for him.
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