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October 2, 2012

Chazy fire truck running top-notch

CHAZY — The Chazy Volunteer Fire Department is taking its fully restored 1934 Buffalo pumper fire truck to the Super Wheels Showdown in Boston.

It was a long road to get to where it is now, though.

The pumper was part of the original Chazy Fire District, purchased by the department in 1934 for $5,265. It was actively used until 1977.

"We kept it all these years," said Dick Carpentier, a department member for 54 years.

Over the years, the truck was occasionally brought to parades, and it often received prizes in the Oldest Fire Apparatus category. 

Built by the Buffalo Fire Appliance Company and stamped the job number 1307, the reborn truck has all of its original parts. The department even has all the original documents, including the operating manuals.

RESTORATION PROJECT

In 2003, Paul Parent, a volunteer firefighter for 36 years, decided he wanted to restore the old truck.

"I said I want everyone involved. It was a department project, for sure."

Parent, body-shop manager at Phil's Chevrolet in Ellenburg Depot, was named project manager.

"He's a professional body man," Carpentier said.

When they started work on the pumper, its body was old and its color had faded, but it didn't have much rust, Parent said.

He commended everyone who had a hand in the project, which took the 34-member department at least 2,000 hours to complete. Ninty-five percent of the restoration was finished for the Fire Department's 75th anniversary in 2009.

The truck was worked on only in the summer because there is no heat in the original Fire Station, where the truck is housed, Carpentier said.

Leonard Smart did the gold leaf and lettering, Jack Provost of Deco Chrome in Ormstown, Quebec, supplied the chrome, Cliff Engleharte did the leatherwork, and Jim Mayo did the upholstery work.

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