Tonice (IL) Fire Apparatus Returns Home

A 1931 Chevrolet truck that was first obtained by the Tonica (IL) fire department around 1940 has returned home. Volunteer firefighters and community members converted the vehicle, which previously may have been used as a dump truck, into Tonica’s first motorized fire truck.

“They put a lot of thought into this,” said Tonica Fire Department public information officer Rick Turri. “It’s got what we call pre-connected lines on the front and the back.”

In its prime, the truck was used to carry 100 gallons of water. Today, the department has one truck that can carry 3,000 gallons of water and two that can carry 1,000 gallons each.

“We can show up with 5,000 gallons of water and put out a fire in minutes,” Turri said.

In 1970 the Chevy was taken out of service, and in 1979 it was transferred to the Northern Illinois Valley Shrine Club. The Shriners restored it and used it in parades until last year.

“The Shriners took good care of it,” Turri said. “We’re happy to have it back.”

The truck was visited Tuesday by a patient from Shriners Hospital for Children, Chicago. Five-year-old Mason Kofoid of Cedar Point was all smiles as he rang the bell on the old fire truck and later took a ride in Tonica’s newest model.

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