New Smyrna Fire Department Announces Restoration Of Antique Fire Engine, ‘Old #5’

By on November 28, 2017 in WNDB News

New Smyrna Beach, FL – The New Smyrna Beach Fire Department (NSBFD) announced Tuesday that an antique 1945 American La France pumper fire engine called “Old #5” has been restored.

“Old #5” was purchased for $8,350 in 1945 and served the City of New Smyrna Beach from 1945 until it was retired in 1975.

Firefighter Doug Sapp, who was killed in the Stormy’s Restaurant Fire of 1991, came across the engine in the 1980’s when he was looking for an antique fire engine to restore. “Old #5” had Sapp’s uncle’s name on the dedication plaque, but it was also completely rusted, NSBFD says. Sapp worked every weekend for 18 months to restore the engine to its original condition. It was completed on July 3, 1991, just in time for the 4th of July festivities. After its completion, the engine was traditionally used for the annual Christmas Parade and the Toys for Tots campaign.

Current NSBFD Battalion Chief Chris Dymond has also spent the past year and a half restoring the engine. “The pumper has served the City with little more than routine maintenance in its upkeep, and I felt it was time to move forward with a refurbishment,” Dymond says. Dymond explains that the paint was scratched, chipped, cracked and denting. The brakes were unreliable, the back axle was bent, the tire sizes did not match, and none of the gauges worked.

In order to restore “Old #5,” the rear axle was replaced, the frame and body had extensive work done to make the pumper look like it did originally, and the engine was polished and sealed. The motor, transmission, and brakes were all repaired or replaced to make the engine safe to operate again. A gold leaf was placed on the back of the engine, similar to the one placed there in 1945, along with the phrase, “We will never forget.”

“I felt that it was our responsibility and a way of honoring and remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We need to remember those that gave so much to represent the department because I believe those individuals reflect who we are or want to aspire to be. I would like to think of ‘Old #5’ as the pride of the fleet,” says Dymond.

NSBFD also credits the following businesses which helped with the restoration:

  • Skinner’s Preservations worked on the bodywork, paint and leather seating.
  • Arroword Signs and Graphics applied the gold leaf.
  • Henry Canup’s Custom Metal Polishing completed the brass work.
  • Volusia Powder Coating restored the chrome.
  • YES Electric rewired the pumper.

Photo courtesy SurfsupWolf Photography and NSBFD.

Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2017.

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