Old Town’s first motorized fire truck on display

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Old Town’s Garford fire truck is back a visit to help publicize efforts to bring it home permamently.

A century ago fires in Old Town were fought using steam powered engines and chemical carts pulled by horses and men. With the advent of the internal combustion engine this all changed. In 1917 the city purchased its first motorized piece of fire apparatus, a Garford truck built that same year.

Use of that truck helped protect the lives and properties of the citizens of Old Town for decades. However, it eventually was traded in for a newer model; soon, its whereabouts were unknown. It appeared a piece of local history was lost forever.

But in 1987 Maine State Fire Marshall Stu Jacobs was conducting an investigation in the woods of Bridgton and stumbled upon the remains of a fore truck with the lettering “OTFD” on its hood and the word “Garford” on its front bumper. The truck then was painstakingly restored over the next five years; it has been stored at the Hose 5 Fire Museum since.

For a bit less than a year now, current and former members of the Old Town Fire Department, acting as the Garford Committee, have been actively fundraising to construct a permanent addition to construct a permanent addition to the public safety building to display and house this piece of history for all to view and enjoy. However, the committee needs the public’s help to make the final push to complete the project in time for the Garford’s 100th birthday.

This past week, the Garford was brought to Old Town and pushed back into a bay at the Old Town Fire Department. The truck will be on display for the next month, and will be in the Memorial Day Parade this week as will. Firefighters hope this will aid in the effort to build an addition to house it.