WAUSAUKEE, Wis. (WFRV) — A historic fire truck will be returning home to the Village of Wausaukee for good next week.
According to the Village, the keys to a 1930 REO Speed Wagon fire truck will be returned to the community at the Annual Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association (MSFCA) in Duluth.
Earlier this year, the MSFCA Board of Directors voted unanimously to declare surplus an antique fire truck they owned, putting it up for auction via sealed bids.
The MSFCA has owned the truck since the early 1990’s. It was originally intended to be used to support the MSFCA through community outreach by making public appearances throughout Minnesota.
It had not been used as the Board had hoped, so they decided to sell the truck.
Once the truck was officially advertised for sale via a sealed bid process that would end on September 30, 2019, Board members set out to find out where the truck originally had served in the fire service.
Eagan Fire Chief Mike Scott, a Board member, stated “there is a strong sense of brotherhood and family within the fire service that extends across the nation, if not worldwide. We felt it was important to track down where this truck originally served in the fire service to at least reach out to that department and let them know the truck was up for auction.”
The research revealed the truck originally served as the first motorized fire truck for the Village of Wausaukee in Marinette County.
Chief Scott had recently sold a used fire truck to the Village of Crivitz Wisconsin and called the Crivitz Fire Chief to see if he knew anyone from the Wausaukee Fire Department.
To Chief Scott’s surprise, the Crivitz Chief informed him that Wausaukee was the neighboring village – and that he was friends with the Fire Chief there.
Chief Scott contacted Wausaukee Fire District Fire Chief Eric Edlebeck to tell him about the fire truck being available for sealed bid auction.
Chief Edlebeck stated, “they had no idea what had happened to their original fire truck.”
The truck had reportedly been sold to a meat packing company after serving the fire department for many years.
“The truck was last seen in the early 1990s when a gentleman from Minnesota brought the truck to our 4th of July Parade and allowed some retired members to ride on the truck in the parade. The members at that time were so excited to see the truck that they donated some loose equipment to the owner of the truck with hopes this truck would return for future 4th of July Parades. This was the last time the truck had been seen by members of the department and the community.”
The MSFCA received two sealed bids at the time of the bid closing on September 30 with the high bid belonging to the Wausaukee Fire District in the amount of $7,500.
Members of the MSFCA will officially return the truck to the village during the conference on Thursday.