Truck Restoration Bridges Past and Present

Jefferson City, TN—An old fire truck belonging to the Jefferson City Fire Department will be restored in an effort to honor the department’s history and heritage.

Lt. Bob Miller said the Department bought the 1937 Ford American LaFrance fire truck brand new nearly 80 years ago. After a long service life, the truck was stored away, emerging briefly in the ’80s through early 2000s for occasional public appearances. Miller and several of his fellow Jefferson City firefighters have been working for the last year and a half to restore the truck, which he said is in need of many repairs.

“Quite frankly, the old engine we have here is about the only real tangible connection we have to our past,” Miller said. “It’s important in the fire service that a department has tradition.” Miller added, “you touch this, you know, you think of the guys that rode in it and the responses that it went on, the fires that it responded to in all those years. If it could only talk, kind of thing.”

The fire truck went back into storage following mechanical problems during a parade in the early 2000s.

“I was hauling the cheerleaders, so I had to pull over and they had to jump out and catch up on foot,” Miller said with a laugh. “So that was embarrassing.”

“We’ve had our work cut out for us. It’s got some damage to the pump here that we’re going to have to repair,” he said. “Been scouring the nation trying to find parts for this device.”

Miller, a self-described gear head, wants to recreate the truck’s original layout, placing components such as the water tank, hose bed and toolbox where they were back in the late ’30s.

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