CARIBOU, Maine — It has raced to fires, rolled by way of parades, is a part of a museum and nonetheless works.
100 years after “Previous Engine One” first rolled into Caribou, the 1922 American LaFrance pumper continues to be the pleasure and pleasure of the town’s hearth and EMS division.
In a time when previous autos find yourself in steel compactors, the town of Caribou sees the treasure in its first hearth truck and works onerous to protect it.
“It’s like a [time] capsule; it’s been a part of this city for years,” mentioned firefighter Adam Chartier. “My grandfather [Gus McCarthy] rode on that truck within the Forties.”
Although Caribou has gone by way of quite a few engine vans since Previous Engine One retired in 1956, the truck has linked firefighters of a number of generations. Previous Engine One has introduced firefighters on their “final rides” after their deaths and is a part of native household histories.
Even youthful firefighters immediately can recall tales of their grandfathers using atop the truck at hearth calls and metropolis parades.
For so long as Previous Engine One has existed, every era of firefighters has thought-about it their obligation to move down historic tales to the youngest crew members.
Probably the most well-known story of Previous Engine One originates with a flood in Might 1923 that broken the pumps of Caribou’s water firm. Crews introduced the truck to Collins Pond and pumped water for seven days in order that the city wouldn’t run out of consuming water.
Firefighter Scott Michaud mentioned that the story is one which exhibits the creativity and ingenuity of fireplace crews in these days.
“They carried out oil adjustments [on Old Engine One] whereas the truck was nonetheless operating,” Michaud mentioned. “This was solely six months after they bought the truck, so it undoubtedly proved its value.”
In 1922, $12,500 was a excessive worth to pay for a hearth truck however one which Caribou willingly spent so as to have their first pumper truck. Previous to that, the city, which grew to become the town of Caribou in 1967, transformed previous cars for firefighting.
The truck that firefighters nonetheless affectionately name “previous woman” served throughout one other one among Caribou’s well-known fires. On Aug. 26, 1952, the well-known Rudy Theater on Sweden Avenue burned, quickly pulling Previous Engine One from its standing as a reserve truck. All vans have been on deck that day to forestall Sweden Avenue from burning to the bottom solely.
In 1956, the Previous Engine One formally retired and have become an everyday presence at native parades and the funerals of fireplace division personnel. However the truck gained new life within the Nineteen Eighties after former firefighter Greg Belanger and others accomplished a full restoration.
“Greg has since retired however the remainder of us have taken on the duty of retaining [Old Engine One] operational,” Michaud mentioned. “In 2002, we constructed an addition to the hearth station so individuals can see the truck from the skin.”
That addition homes a mini museum for the hearth station, with previous pictures and awards that Previous Engine One has obtained from statewide vintage truck competitions. The museum is the place Previous Engine One sits, although the division hopes to in the future construct a bigger museum.
In August, Caribou Hearth & Ambulance will have a good time the truck’s one centesimal birthday throughout its annual hearth muster and the Caribou Cares About Youngsters parade. Even metropolis councilors are in on the motion, declaring August as Previous Engine One Month.
“[During the muster] we’re going to see if we are able to pump out water one final time,” Michaud mentioned.