Tri-County fire fighters fix up 1936 pumper

 
 Messenger photos by Kristy Zurbrick

Organizers of the Tri-County Firefighters golf outing include (from left) Michael Riffle, Devin Cooper and Mike Moore. Part of the proceeds will go toward restoration of the department’s first motorized pumper.

 
Though stored in many places over the years, the Seagraves has remained the property of the fire department from the beginning. It is now stored at the Mount Sterling station.
 
 View of the truck from the back.
 
A new paint job will be the most expensive part of the restoration.

When golfers tee off Aug. 16 at the Tri-County Firefighters golf outing, they’ll be swinging for the department’s past and future.

In addition to the purchase of heavy-rescue equipment, proceeds from the fundraiser will go into a restoration fund for Mount Sterling’s first motorized pumper. The 1936 Seagraves engine is stored at the station in Mount Sterling, where fire fighters work on it as time and money allows.

“We’re trying to get it back to what it looked like when it was used here,” said fire fighter Bruce Alkire.

The crew doesn’t know much about the pumper’s history; many of the fire department’s records were lost when Mount Sterling’s town hall burned down in 1982. But they’re not at a complete loss.

“We do know that it was last used in the early ’80s when they were having trouble keeping the pressure up at the water plant. The old Seagraves pumped for a good eight straight hours and never missed a beat,” Alkire said.

Visual clues are supplied by the original factory photos, which the Seagraves company retrieved from microfiche for the department. The vehicle itself offers up clues, too. An empty bracket needs a flashlight. The lanterns need globes. The cloth-coated wiring, though brittle and in need of replacement, is still there to go by.

“We’re not upgrading anything. We’re going back to the original,” said Alkire, noting that parts can be found on e-Bay, at an old Ford dealer, and elsewhere

With the exception of a new paint job, which likely will be the most intensive and expensive part of the restoration, the department’s staff is doing the work themselves—from mechanical repairs to sanding and varnishing the ladders.

“It’s a slow, painstaking process,” Alkire said. One thing that doesn’t need much work is the flathead 8 engine. “She runs and purrs like a kitten right now.”

The department is putting effort into the restoration as a matter of pride.

“We want to show pride in our history by getting the Seagraves out for parades,” Alkire said.

Seed money for the restoration project came from the disbanded Mount Sterling Rotary Club. The department hopes to add to the fund through the golf outing and other fundraisers.

Golf Outing

This is the second year for the golf outing. Last year’s event attracted six four-person teams.

“We would like 10 teams this year. Every year, we want to get more people involved,” said Mike Moore, a volunteer fire fighter and chairman of the golf outing committee.

The scramble will take place Aug. 16 at Deer Creek State Park Golf Course, 20635 Waterloo Rd., Mount Sterling. Registration is from 7 to 7:45 a.m. Tee time is 8. The cost to enter is $60 per person or $240 per four-person team. Each golfer can buy one mulligan for $5 to be used at any time.

 
The original lanterns need new globes.

Cash prizes will go to the first, second and third place. The reward for a hole-in-one is a two-night stay at Deer Creek Lodge; the prize will be raffled off if a hole-in-one does not happen. Other contests in-clude men’s longest drive, women’s longest drive, closest to the pin, and longest putt.

Raffle tickets will be sold for door prizes. Lunch and drinks will be served in the shelter house after the golfing.

To enter, make checks payable to TCFFA and mail to P.O. Box 325, Mount Sterling, OH 43143. For details, call Mike Moore at 740-404-5293, Jeff Shaw at 740-572-0890, or Adam Paige at 614-679-1138.

The Tri-County Fire District covers 118 square miles and serves a population of 10,500. The department is staffed by 33 volunteers.

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