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Fire truck brings back memories

TYRONE--The Tyrone Fire Department resurrected a piece of their past when it recently took delivery of the department's vintage fire truck refurbished to almost brand new after spending close to 40 years sitting in a garage. Fire Chief Bill Meehan said when the 1939 engine was brought back to the department, members who actually used the engine had massive smiles on their faces.
"That alone made it worth it to me, to see the smiles on the older guys' faces and how happy it made them," Meehan said.
Meehan commented it was nice to see guys reminiscing about working on the engine.
Originally purchased second hand in 1952 from the Danville Fire Department, the engine served Tyrone for roughly 30 years and was retired in the early 1980s. Despite being refurbished, new fire apparatus have surpassed the capabilities of the old truck.
"Old engines just don't compare to newer models in terms of water capacity and they are so much bigger and stronger," Meehan stated.
Instead, it will be used for parades and special events and to serve as a connection to the department's past.
"It's a piece of Tyrone history," Meehan said. "With the old fading away it's nice to restore something from our past."
Meehan said the journey to get the engine refurbished began about four years ago when members of the department began tinkering with the older engine.
"It's been parked in our old fire station for almost 40 years and we decided to resurrect it from the rotted rusted heap... Four years ago we pulled it out of the old garage and did small mechanical work to drive it in its rough shape," Meehan said.
It was about a year ago the department, using a grant from the estate of a previous department member, began taking bids on having the engine restored.
"Ten months ago we delivered it to the company Wards Apparatus in Horseheads," Meehan said. "Ward actually has a connection to the original company that built it in Elmira. It was nice to use a local company that had that connection even though the original company no longer exists."
He added it will be nice to have the engine, and it will serve as a reminder to a time when the original members of the Tyrone Fire Department cut down trees themselves so they could build the original fire station.
"It's nice to have that connection to the past."

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