SOUTHWEST HARBOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The Southwest Harbor Fire Department has successfully completed its mission to restore a historic fire pumper and give it a new home, after more than seven years of hard work and fundraising.
It was one of the department’s first pieces of equipment in the early 1900s, and actually dates back to 1857.
Firefighters and family members wheeled the pumper through the streets Sunday just like it was done back in the day: by hand.
After years of neglect, they were relocating it from a retired firefighter's garage to be displayed in a new building at the station.
"At the time, it was stuck in about three inches of ice that had worked its way into the building," Lt. Thom Willey said. "The kids asked us, ‘Why is it like this?’”
The display building is the result of the efforts of the department and its junior firefighters since 2009.
“We all got together and decided, well, we need to make a permanent home for the pumper because it's such a historical piece,” Willey said.
After raising the funds, they slowly began to construct the building bit by bit.
"It’s been my baby, but over the last few years, the junior firefighters came in and took it over," retired Cpt. Harold Hall said. "[Now I can] sit back and just enjoy life like I am right now."
Firefighters hope it will protect the pumper for many years to come.
"Over the number of years we've been working on this, we've had made kids that have come and gone but they all will have that history,” Willey said. “Being able to work with the kids and have them have a project that was positive in such a small community as ours this was a great opportunity."
The department said the building still is not quite complete. They hope to continue to raise funds to be able to install siding, lights and other finishing touches.
"It's been kicked around different places, from here to there, being stored in a private garage and it needs to be here back at the firehouse,” Lt. David Kelley said.