Ninety-nine-year-old Wes Baker carefully inspected a 1941 American LaFrance fire engine, peering under the hood at its engine.
“I actually worked on that truck, I believe,” the McMinnville resident told Tangent Fire District volunteers.
From 1940 to 1943, Baker was an electrician at the LaFrance factory in Elmira, New York. He estimated that he wired up the engines of a new fire truck every three working days.
The truck was originally purchased by the Corvallis Fire Department, delivered from New York in December 1940.
Tangent acquired the rig in the 1970s, and nowadays, the only action it sees is during local parades and other relaxing rides.
“They don’t build them like this anymore,” said Tangent Fire Chief Scott Casebolt.
Casebolt added that only three of that particular model were made, in an era when fire trucks were highly customized.
One was destroyed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The other is owned by former Tonight Show host and comedian Jay Leno.
For more information and photos, view www.gazettetimes.com