SkullandChains Report This Comment
Date: October 06, 2010 03:19PM
By Naomi Hatch
The Snowflake Fire Department’s original 1948 Chevrolet fire truck took
first place as “The Best New Antique Fire Apparatus” at the Arizona State
Fire School in September.
Vice Mayor Kerry Ballard presented the plaque commemorating the win to Fire
Chief Pat Hancock at the Sept. 28 Snowflake Town Council meeting.
The vice mayor’s father, Les Ballard, and Uncles Cleon, Hal and Harve
Ballard were members of the original Snowflake Fire Department. Other members
were E. Kay Hatch, Lorum Stratton, Eldon (Spud) Stratton, A.J. Freeman, Alof
Larson, Ivan Larson, Lynn Stratton and Raymond Briggs.
The 1948 Chevrolet fire truck was the first fire engine in Navajo County.
The original cost, including interest payments, was $8,319.94, said Hancock,
noting, “We have the original check stubs that show the payment.”
Members of the fire department drove back east to pick up the truck. There
are only 7,400 original miles on the fire truck. “It has the original steering
tires,” Hancock told the council. Vice Mayor Ballard added that they changed
the back tires so they had mud grip tires. In 1995 it was repainted the original
color and the engine still has yellow writing on it.
Chief Hancock proudly showed the original Sinclair Oil change sticker dated
3-28-1949, and explained that they had the oil changed on the way back to
Snowflake. The fire truck was in daily use until around 1990.
The fire truck has a 500-gallon tank and a 750-gallon per minute pump, and
is completely functional, although it doesn’t meet today’s standards as a
responding fire engine.
The department now has a fleet of two engine pumpers, a tender pumper, a
brush truck, a wildland fire truck and two command/chief vehicles.
The Snowflake Fire Department is a volunteer department with one paid
member, the fire chief, and 25 paid-on-call members. Firefighters train every
Thursday, learning firefighting techniques.
The firefighters are dedicated, which is shown by the fact that often they
pay for their own certifications. Firefighter John Dewitt paid for his own Fire
I and II certification class at Northland Pioneer College, and six firefighters
went to the State Fire School and took a variety of classes, which they passed.
Steve Rushton took fire ground tactics, Billy Nightingale took smoke plus, Wendy
and James Wagner took basic firefighter skills, Jenny Hancock took the State
Fire Instructor class and Chief Hancock took a fire leadership class.
This week is Fire Prevention Week, promoting smoke alarms. The Snowflake
Fire Department will host an open house from 6 to 8 o’clock tonight (Oct. 6).
Area residents are invited to tour the fire station, and have a hot dog and a
The Taylor Fire Department will host an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. on
Thursday, Oct. 7. Those attending can tour the fire station, watch
demonstrations and spray the fire hose.