The Old LaFrance

by Alan Dodd

This was the first fire engine owned by the Gaylordsville Fire Department. We got it through the kindness of Chief Lou Mass of the Bay Shore Fire Department when his department retired it. We got them to let us have it for $240.00. This truck was about 25 years old when we got it. It was right hand drive with the gear shift and brake lever on the outside, with chain drive. Lou told me when they got the truck, it had solid rubber tires and what was then called a chemical tank, a hundred gallons of water activated by soda and acid like a soda-acid fire extinguisher. It was later equipped with a 250-gallon tank connected to the pump. The wheels were changed to take pneumatic tires.

It had no cab or windshield and it was a cold ride in zero degree weather. We had helmets with face masks and goggles which helped, but not much.

It gave us good service for 20 years until we could afford a new truck. We wished we could keep it, but had no room to store it so we sold it to Robertson Bleachery, where they used it for a plant truck until they went out of business. I don't know where it went after that.

Before we sold it, we took off the bell and hung it on the wall in the fire house meeting room where it still hangs.


©1998 Alan Dodd