Brewer selling bricks to support public safety museum

Posted July 18, 2010, at 3:20 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — The walls of the city’s public safety museum are up and an old 1947 LaFrance antique fire truck sits inside it, but the building is far from complete, Fire Chief Gary Parent said recently, and needs not only a last push of funding, but also materials for display.

“I think we need $25,000 more to completely finish it off,” Parent said. “We’ll use it to finish the interior of the museum, and maintain it.”

To ensure taxpayers do not have to pay for the project, a Public Safety Museum Buy-a-Brick campaign has begun, Parent said. The bricks, which can be laser-inscribed with up to three lines of text, will be used to create a walkway leading up to the museum’s front door.

The cost of the bricks are $50 for individuals and families, and $100 for businesses. Those who want to add a clip art picture can do so for an additional $10.

When the new public safety building on Parkway South was being built in 2008, it was a design-build project and there was enough money left over to construct the small museum, which is situated at the front of the building.

“Part of the deal was if they would build it, we wouldn’t use taxpayers funds” to complete it, Parent said. “All it needs is interior work. We need to finish up the walls and window displays.”

Besides the antique fire truck the only other thing in the museum is a “6-foot section of steel from the Twin Towers,” he said.

Brewer has two pieces of mangled and rusted steel and a piece of aluminum exterior salvaged from the Twin Towers after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The attacks killed an estimated 3,000 people, many of whom were firefighters and police who had entered the towers trying to save the lives of those inside.

“We’ve got an 18-foot section in the fire department’s truck bays,” a constant reminder of the true meaning of sacrifice, Parent said, adding it is an inspiration to his firefighters.

The aluminum piece of the destroyed Twin Towers is on display on the police department side of the complex.

With basically only two large items for the public safety museum, “we’re looking for stuff,” the fire chief said. “We have very few items here.”

One local man, who declined to be identified, has spent years collecting historic artifacts associated with Brewer that someday will call the museum home, but “we’d be happy to accept others,” Parent said.

Those with historic items such as old police or fire badges, patches, uniforms or pictures that they would like to donate, or those who want to fund a memorial brick, can contact the fire chief at 989-3000.

Buy-a-brick order forms are available in the lobby of the public safety building, and on the city’s website.

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