A 1955 firetruck finds its way back home to Franklin County

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Wash. — What would you do if your community had no fire protection?

For residents in Franklin County back in the 1950s, it meant petitioning for a fire district and buying a firetruck.

After Franklin County Fire District #3 formed in 1953, the district bought their first firetruck in 1955, a brand new International ‘tanker’.

After serving the community for several years the commissioners sold the truck as surplus.

“Most of the time when we excess something not usable we get rid of it and we never see it again,” said the district’s current Fire Chief Mike Harris.

However, Harris got a call back in June 2019 from a man wanting to donate the truck back to the district where it originally came.

Not only was the man willing to donate the truck, but he had fully restored it.

The entire station was ecstatic about the opportunity to bring a piece of history home.

“One of our fire commissioners is actually used to be a volunteer out here back in the ’60s and ’70s and he remembers driving this truck, to several fires,” Harris said.

Now the truck serves the community in a different way — as an educational tool at parades and events.

Due to lack of space, the district needed to store the truck off-site.

Bruce LePage, the son of one of the first commissioners, stepped up to store the 1955 firetruck at his farm.

This isn’t the first time LePage Farms has stored a different truck for the district, having done so for a few years in the late 1950s.

One day, the district will build a place to store the old firetruck, but LePage doesn’t mind taking care of it.

“Until then, I feel happy to have it sitting right here,” LePage said.