Hudson (OH) Restores Fire Apparatus

The Hudson Fire Department Association (OH) plans to unveil a fully restored 1928 Seagrave Special fire truck.

Purchased and delivered in 1928, the Seagrave cost the Village $8,750 new and saw active duty from 1928 through 1963.

It was later sold in a closed bid auction put on by the Village in 1968 to Harold Bruce Jr. of Elyria. Bruce kept excellent care of the truck and occasionally brought it to various gatherings of historical fire apparatus.

The last known sighting of the Seagrave was at a Western Reserve Fire Buffs picnic in 1976. From 1976 until just a few months ago, the truck was assumed to have been sold or destroyed.

While at his family dentist Dr. Kevin Hyatt, Bruce relayed a story about the old Hudson fire truck in his barn that wanted to see returned to the city. Hyatt, contacted his wife, who contacted her best friend Debbie Varnes, the wife of Hudson Fire Chief Jerry Varnes to explain the desires of Bruce.

Although his own father, retired asst. chief Bill Varnes was unsuccessful in his own search for the 1928 Seagrave, Jerry contacted Bruce to arrange for a look at the truck.

With a small group of Hudson firefighters, Jerry met Bruce in Elyria in October 2012 and confirmed through serial number and engine number, the truck was in fact Hudson’s lost Seagrave.

“This truck was secured and delivered to Hudson at the hands of the community’s firefighters,” HFDA President Ed Stein said. “This is a proud moment for our city and our organization.”

Since the time of the purchase, the truck was meticulously dismantled by firefighters and parts were cleaned and rebuilt with the help of outside vendors, who donated much if not all of the outsourced parts and labor. Garage space to work on the truck is being provided by Vizmeg Landscaping. The truck was transported by Denholm Automotive.

A new gas tank was fabricated from scratch through a collaborative effort of Boyd Welding and National Pump because the original tank would not hold fuel and repairing it would have destroyed it. The booster tank was repaired by Midwest Fabrication and sealed by Radiator Rich so it would hold water. The carburetor was rebuilt by Automotive Electric Service and new fuel lines run. The brakes shoes were relined by Cook Bonding and mechanically inspected for operation. The radiator was inspected and repaired by Ellet Radiator. All of the nickel plating has been polished and Hudson Painting has touched up or repainted various components of the truck. Quick Service Welding and Machine created from scratch a new speedometer gear. The truck has received an extensive professional cleaning from Detail Express. Vendors such as Hudson Auto Parts and Service, Customer Wire Sets, Miles Rubber, and J & K Truck and Trailer Repair also provided services and equipment.

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