In 1993, a Spokane man drove across the country to pick up a fire truck he won for 20 dollars in his hometown of Rheems (PA) so fire explorers could use it in Washington.
“How many people can say they’ve seen the United States from inside a fire engine,” Ron Baer said in a 1993 interview with KXLY.
Baer said the trip wasn’t easy. The vehicle topped off at 55 miles per hour and got nine miles to the gallon in gas.
“It took me two weeks,” Baer said. “I drove 200 miles a day because I didn’t want to — well this thing wasn’t made to go on the highway. It was made to go five blocks and put a fire out.”
Now, two decades later., Baer is getting ready to send what he calls his “mistress” back to Rheems where their relationship first started.
The truck became his in 1990 when the department decided to raffle it off instead of selling or trading it. Ron bought four tickets for five dollars a pop.
Baer chatted with the Spokane Fire Chief about keeping the engine at the fire house. Once the chief agreed that it would be used to train their fire explorers, Baer found himself driving the truck three thousand miles across the country.
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