Historical Athol fire engine undergoes repairs

By Max Bowen

News Editor

Published: 02-28-2023 4:45 PM

A 1920 Seagrave Ladder Truck used in parades and popular with residents is undergoing extensive repairs before returning to the road.

Athol Fire Capt. Eric Jack said the truck is being repaired at Gasper Automotive Restoration in Manchester, CT. According to the company’s web site, it specializes in restoration of vintage trucks, cars and antique fire apparatuses. Because of the age of the ladder truck, finding parts can be difficult, so some came from collectors while others were custom-built at Gasper Automative. One of the truck’s cylinders had to be replaced and was taken from another vehicle at Gasper.

“It’s kind of a lost art,” said Jack of the restoration.

It’s estimated the work will cost between $20,000-$25,000, and paid for by the Athol Firefighters Association. The plan is to have it back on the road in March. Additional fundraising will need to be done during the year, such as T-shirts and challenge coins. Jack said the truck is very popular in town, having appeared at different events over the years. He added that discussions have begun with the North Quabbin Chamber of Commerce to have the truck appear in an upcoming parade.

“There’s a lot of interest in that truck,” said Jack. “It’s been around forever.”

The Seagrave was purchased by the town in 1920 and served until the early 1950s, according to Jack. It was used prior to the traditional ladder trucks seen today, and carried ground ladders that helped crews gain access to a home or building. The truck was kept in storage for 20 years and then restored by the association in the 1970s. It was used in parades in Athol, nearby communities, and even in New York and Maine. Over the last five years mechanical issues developed and it hasn’t been used for the last two.

“The town really enjoyed it,” Jack said. “There’s a lot of nostalgia with it.”

Max Bowen can be reached at mbowen@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, extension 265.

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