Smith donates fire truck back to its original home

Mike Mallow,

Waterville resident Tim Smith donated a fire truck back to the department it originally was used by the New Ulm Fire Department. (Submitted photo)

More than 30 years after being decommissioned, a fire truck has returned to the New Ulm Fire Department thanks to Waterville resident and councilman Tim Smith. Smith acquired the 1969 Pirsch fire truck in 2006 from the defunct Minneapolis Fire Museum.

“Several of the caretakers of that museum were part of the firetruck collectors group that I belong to,” Smith said. “When the museum dissolved, that, along with two other trucks and some other stuff, was stored with the intent of reopening another museum. When they didn’t get a chance to open another museum, several of these pieces ended up in private hands.”

The fire truck was originally purchased in 1969 by the New Ulm Fire Department for $49,000. It spent the following three decades in service and was retired in 1992. The fire department held onto the truck for some time after but eventually needed to free space at the station. The fire department soon after donated it to the Minneapolis Fire Museum.

Smith, who is also a fireman for St. Louis Park, only had to pay for parts and a title for the classic fire truck. By the time he took ownership, the truck was sitting under a tarp in a backyard.

“I haven’t restored it. I did basic maintenance on it, kept it up, and drove it in parades. It’s been in a car show or two.”

Knowing that New Ulm was initially upset...

To see more on this story pick up the January 18, 2024 print edition of the LifeEnterprise. 



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