E. Grand fire truck restoration takes on life of its own
April 21, 2009
What was supposed to be a simple engine repair has taken on a life of its own.
Six years ago, the engine of the East Grand Fire Protection District’s 1930 firetruck began to make some noise.
The firefighters pulled the oil pan to see what was wrong and it was like pulling the thread on a sweater.
Once the oil pan was off and a problem with the main crankshaft discovered, the firefighters noticed some rust. Bolts were loosened, parts removed.
The entire truck is now is pieces and spread across Grand County and Denver as parts are repaired, replaced, retooled and restored.
After six years of work, the truck will slowly come back together over the next year.
In the garage of the East Grand Fire Station between Fraser and Winter Park, the steel truck frame sits like the first piece of the puzzle. It’s been repainted a bright red.
If you run your hand across the front of the frame, you will feel a dent where firefighters used to wrap a chain to pull start the truck in the winter when the battery died.
For decades, the truck was stored in an unheated garage in Fraser, on the lot behind Timberline Thai. The truck itself had no roof and no heat.
“Those old boys just dealt with it,” said East Grand Fire Chief Todd Holzwarth.
The truck first arrived in Fraser in 1960, purchased for a few hundred dollars from the fire station in Rushville, Neb. It served as the only truck for Fraser’s volunteer fire crew for the rest of the ’60s.
It was replaced in 1971 and left in the garage in downtown Fraser, unused, until 1983 when it was rededicated for use in parades and other fire district events.
Six years ago, when the district started taking the truck apart, Holzwarth said, it was the first time most of the bolts had been turned since it was built. Even the truck’s tires were the originals from 1930.
Much of the engine restoration has been done at cost by Dave Knisley. He recently finished work on one of the axles.
Gary Tabor in Tabernash has been painting the truck, panel by panel, and storing it in pieces until it is ready to be rebuilt.