June 17, 2019
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Old Town’s first-ever fire truck will return to a building that looks like its 1917 home

The first motorized truck the Old Town Fire Department ever used will soon take up residence in a structure built to look like the fire station it occupied a century ago.

Old Town’s 1917 Garford fire truck, the oldest one still around in New England, will soon be housed in a replica of the old fire station thanks to a local fundraising effort and construction work by a group of University of Maine students.

Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Old Town Fire Department's 1917 Garford fire truck is the oldest one in New England and will soon be housed in a replica of the old fire station. The University of Maine Construction Engineering Technology (CET) program is building the facility to house the Garford as a part of service learning.

After the truck returned to Old Town in 2017, the fire department began a fundraising effort to build the truck a permanent home where it could be on display. City officials, Old Town residents and local businesses chipped in to raise enough money to fund construction of a replica of the original fire station building that housed the Garford.

Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Jack Pacent, a University of Maine senior, helps on the fire stations construction project Friday morning. The Construction Engineering Technology (CET) program is constructing a building to house Old Town Fire Department's 1917 Garford fire truck as a part of service learning.

A student group at UMaine called the Student Construction Association that works on projects in the community drew up the plans after getting in touch with the Old Town Public Works Department about the project. Amber Killip, a construction engineering technology professor, assigned the actual construction planning to one of her classes.

Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Cam Patch, a senior and teaching assistant for Intro to Construction, helps with the project.

Following blueprints drawn up by the student association, about 30 students spent Thursday and Friday working in groups of four to construct the walls and roof of the fire station replica.

“It’s a great service learning project,” Killip said. “Ends up being a win-win for everybody. Old Town provided the materials, and we provided the labor. The students get to learn a lot. We can’t fabricate this kind of learning in the classroom.”

Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
The University of Maine Construction Engineering Technology (CET) program is constructing a building to house Old Town Fire Department's 1917 Garford fire truck as a part of service learning.

The truck returned to Old Town’s possession in the 1980s, and it was restored in 1992. It stayed at the Hose 5 Fire Museum in Bangor until the Old Town Fire Department brought it back to its station in 2017.

In the next few weeks, after UMaine students finish building the building frame and roof, the city’s public works staff will finish the siding and insulation on the building. The Garford truck will be moved to its permanent home by Memorial Day, said Robert Gallant, an Old Town firefighter.

Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
The University of Maine Construction Engineering Technology (CET) program is constructing a building to house Old Town Fire Department's 1917 Garford fire truck as a part of service learning.

“It’ll be nice to have a piece of history back here in Old Town,” Lt. Adam Martell said.



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