In an effort to maintain a piece of salvaged history of the North Las Vegas Fire Department, an organization is focusing on preserving a 1941 Howe-International fire engine.
The Howe Fire Apparatus Company built the fire engine for the department in the early days of its incorporation in May 1946. The firetruck served the community for approximately 20 years, according to North Las Vegas Fire Capt. Cedric Williams.
“For us, it’s a major part of the history of this organization,” Williams said. “It tells the story of where we came from, and now the time has come for the vehicle to resurrect.”
Although the fire engine’s history after being taken out of service is unclear, it was found in a scrapyard more than 10 years ago.
Firefighters in North Las Vegas were first organized when Old Town became a township in the early 1930s, according to savethefiretruck.com.
It was part of the fire department’s growth, helping it develop from a volunteer organization into a career department in the mid- 1950s, according to Williams.
The fire engine now belongs to the North Las Vegas Firefighters Association.
“I like to say that the vehicle found us,” said North Las Vegas Fire Capt. Sergio Reynoso. “It’s a small engine compared to what we see now, but it’s an important link to our past and how much we’ve developed.”
The planning of the project started in December 2012, and the restoration started in September last year.
Because many of the original parts are no longer available, Williams said the end goal would be to create an updated vehicle.
The restoration process will include both modern and vintage pieces in order to create an easily accessible vehicle that can be shown at school and community events.
“We don’t want it to become a museum piece placed behind glass,” Reynoso said. “We wanted something that was drivable.”
In order to help with the organization’s efforts, car dealership Park Place Infiniti has contributed $2,075 toward the project.
“It’s rare to have the chance to save a little slice of history,” said Park Place Infiniti General Manager Joe Tortomasi in a press release.
This historical preservation project is expected to cost between $50,000 and $60,000. The firetruck will be used as a mobile display and educational tool for schools and special events once the restoration is complete.
J’s Classics, a classic vehicle restoration shop in North Las Vegas, is in charge of restoring the firetruck led by project manager George “Crazy George” Ramirez.
The organization hopes to establish a link to the fire department’s past and educate and inspire future generations and has raised $10,000 through fundraisers and contributions. The next fundraiser is planned June 7 at Craig Ranch Regional Park, 628 W. Craig Road.
“It has its challenges, especially with the economy still rebounding,” Williams said. “But a lot of people are supportive of this effort. We’ve had a lot of community support.”
Many of the contributions have been coming from firefighters from the North Las Vegas Fire Department, in the form of donated time and skills.
Once it’s complete, Williams said maintaining the vehicle will be an ongoing project.
The organization continues to look for support in terms of hosting events and helping with fundraisers.
An unveiling of the vehicle is planned for September at the Cannery, 2121 E Craig Road.
“This is a diamond for this organization and for the community,” Williams said. “We expect it to turn heads and draw attention once it’s complete.”
For more information, visit savethefiretruck.com.
Contact North Las Vegas and Centennial View reporter Sandy Lopez at email@example.com or 702-383-4686.