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Snowflake Fire Department Has State’s Best Antique Fire Truck

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Snowflake Fire Department Has State’s Best Antique Fire Truck

Comments for: Snowflake Fire Department Has State’s Best Antique Fire Truck
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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 Coke.

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.