Antigue fire engine getting new life in New Jersey

COLUMBUS, N.J. - July 12, 2013

It's almost as if it rose from the dead.

Now sitting in a bay at the Franklin Fire Co. on Route 206 in Columbus is an antique 1941 fire engine. It was purchased by the company 70 years ago; sold off when it became outdated and pretty much forgotten.

" We thought this truck was in a scrapyard somewhere. We never knew this truck still existed," Lt. Mark Semus told Action News.

That is until a firefighter found the pumper offered for sale on Craigslist. The department bought it for $2,500 and a local company paid to have it transported home.

"It's a piece of our history we didn't think was out there anymore," said Deputy Chief Sean Gable. "It's just a great opportunity to have it back."

Amazingly, the truck still runs and the original details are all still there: The lettering on the doors; the crank sirens and lights; even the wooden ladder that hangs on the side. Firefighters don't use wooden ladders anymore.

"We have a lot of members that did drive this to fires and did use it in fire calls," said Barry Rasmussen of the Franklin Fire Co.

"I'm into antiques. I have a 1971 Ford at home so when you get back to 1941... that was the year after I was born!" added Ron Cottrill of the Franklin Fire Co.

The goal now is to restore the pumper to its original condition, knowing that finding parts from 1941 may be a challenge. But the guys at Franklin -- a fire company that started back in 1860 -- are motivated to bring this antique back.

The department is actively raising money to pay for the restoration which could cost up to $100,000.It may take years to complete but it will definitely be a labor of love.

The phone number for the Franklin Fire Company is (609) 298-5325.

Copyright © 2023 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.