Retired Philadelphia Firefighter Renovates Fire Apparatus

Retired Philadelphia firefighter Bill O’Brien and his wife, Donna, have restored a 1934 International Harvester Fire Truck.

“My wife, Donna, and I drive the truck in the Ocala Christmas Parade, and we were just in the Williston Veterans Parade in November. We drive the truck around town, and when I mentored some youngsters, we used to treat them to rides. I’ve even used the truck in a few funerals,” O’Brien said.

The open cab was built in 1934 and delivered in 1936. This truck was used by the Luverne (MN) fire department until 1961 and then sat outside until O’Brien found and bought it.

He did a complete “body off” restoration less than 10 years ago, which took about 18 months. He replaced the original engine with one from a Chevrolet school bus.

The truck, despite being outdated, could still get the job done at a fire, O’Brien insists. It has all the necessary gear, including a spotlight, bell, axes, fire extinguishers, ladders a 200-gallon water tank, a reel with a one-inch hose and a 500-gallon-per-minute rotary water pump with a four-inch intake, two-and-a-quarter-inch discharge and compound and pressure gauges to monitor the flow.

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