Nanchez Officials Desire to Restore Fire Apparatus

A 1939 American LaFrance open-cab fire truck serves as an important piece of local history, and tells a compelling story of how far Natchez has come in fire protection, Natchez Mayor Butch Brown said.

“It’s in excellent condition,” Brown said. “I’m still, at this moment, trying to find someone who would paint it.”

With the Natchez Tricentennial — the city’s 300th birthday — around the corner, Brown said there’s a big push to get the antique truck, and other Natchez artifacts, in pristine condition so visitors and locals can enjoy them.

Boasting a wooden ladder and “Natchez Fire Dept.” written in faded yellow paint along its right side and “Mayor Audley B. Conner” on the left, the truck reminds Natchez Fire Chief Aaron Wesley of days gone by.

When the truck first arrived by train, it was an innovative gem, Wesley said.

And while the antique fire truck is still waiting for its refurbishment, Brown said other antique Natchez fire memorabilia are getting shined and polished right now — preparing for their tricentennial debut.

The antique fire equipment that has endured the elements next to the fire station on John R. Junkin Drive — a steam-powered fire engine, fire extinguisher and hose pumper — are currently in the hands of hobbyist Jay Ginn, who is restoring the equipment from his workshop in the Ohlo community, west of Hattiesburg.

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