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Vintage Lebanon fire engine headed to Ireland

Written by John Latimer/Lebanon Daily News | Jan 6, 2016 10:41 AM
Lebanon_vintage_fire_truck2.jpg

The Lebanon City Fire Department and Weavertown Fire Department held a photo shoot in Lebanon at the 9th St. bridge on Sunday, December 11, 2015 with the old and new Perseverance fire engines. The old Perseverance engine which was donated to Weavertown was sold to a collector in Ireland. Jeremy Long, Lebanon Daily News

Overseas collector is buying the 1970 Hahn Pumper Engine

(Lebanon) -- A 46-year-old fire engine that faithfully served two Lebanon County fire departments will soon be traveling the rolling roads of Ireland.

A collector from the emerald isle recently purchased the 1970 Hahn Pumper Engine from the Weavertown Fire Co., and is having it shipped overseas in the coming days.

Before becoming property of Weavertown, the engine had a long history of helping the Lebanon Fire Department put out blazes.

It was purchased new by Lebanon's Perseverance Fire Co. after being manufactured at Hahn's plant in Hamburg, Berks County, according to Lebanon Fire Commissioner Duane Trautman, the city fire department's unofficial historian.

"For the time, it was well built. It was an early diesel. In 1970, not too many trucks were being delivered with diesel engines," he said. "They were tough, there is no doubt about that. And there were a lot of them in service around here."

The design of its red chassis is indicative of the time in which it was manufactured, added Trautman.

"One of the things that made it really different is, it was built during the era of civil unrest and the hose beds were covered so you had to slide a cover to get to them, and everything else was enclosed to protect it," he said.

After having it refurbished by Hahn in 1989, the Perseverance Fire Co. continued to use the engine for many years, until a pump governor that was difficult to repair wore out, Trautman recalled. After 37 years of daily duty for the Persy, it was taken out of service in 2007 and given to the Weavertown Fire Co.

Since then, the Hahn has been used only on occasion, as a back-up to the fire company's newer pumper, said Weavertown Fire Chief Donald Steiner Jr., who, like his father, Donald Sr., is also a career city fire fighter.

"It was solely a reserve back up piece of equipment. Although I'd say we did use it eight or nine times over the years, when our other engine was in for repairs," he said.

Lebanon_vintage_fire_truck.jpg

The Lebanon City Fire Department and Weavertown Fire Department held a photo shoot in Lebanon at the 9th St. bridge on Sunday, December 11, 2015 with the old and new Perseverance fire engines. The old Perseverance engine which was donated to Weavertown was sold to a collector in Ireland. (Photo: Jeremy Long, Lebanon Daily News)

Although the engine still runs strong, Steiner said, several months ago the members of Weavertown Fire Co. decided it was time to sell the Hahn to free up a garage bay for their utility truck. They placed an online advertisement with Fire Line Equipment, a central Pennsylvania company that sells new and used fire trucks.

They set the price tag at $5,000 and crossed their fingers.

"It was on Fire Line's website (fireline.com) for a couple of months," Steiner said. "We were not even expecting a phone call."

But eventually they received one, from Liam Moore, a fire engine buff from Dublin, who offered full price.

This is the second American engine Moore has purchased. He also is the proud owner of a 1967 Mack pumper.

"I purchased the fire engine originally for a boy's toy, something I was interested in working on and possibly showing," he said, via an emailed response. "There has been a lot of interest in fire trucks in Ireland and it has been used for demonstrations in fire stations and has been used in many charitable events."

"This is a new interest," Moore continued. "I've always had an interest in trucks, heavy machinery and the mechanics. I was browsing the Internet and happened across the first one and bid on it, not really expecting anything to come of it. Needless to say, I was quite shocked and excited upon wining the bid."

Transporting the truck was the next challenge.

Moore contacted an acquaintance who sponsors an American antique car show, for some guidance.

"He couldn't of been more helpful, in fact I'd of been at a total loss without him," Moore wrote. "He organized everything through a shipping company which specializes in shipping vintage vehicles, Hill Shipping Kent UK."

The engine is still housed at Weavertown Fire Co. where Moore has been shipping other fire fighting equipment he is purchasing in the U.S., which will be stored on the truck for its overseas voyage

The shipper will arrange to transport the engine from Weavertown Fire Co. to a port in New York where it will be transported to Ireland via a container ship. Moore did not reveal the cost of the shipping which is likely to be in the thousands of dollars.

"The cost in shipping the trucks is very expensive, and the price of the truck, including the shipping cost, was just about manageable," he said. "I am thoroughly looking forward to the arrival of the Hahn, as are my children and grandchildren. The men at Weavertown Fire Co. have been more than helpful."


This article comes to us through a partnership between WITF and Lebanon Daily News.

Published in Lebanon, News

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