Instead of sitting in a garage bay collecting dust, an old Seymour firetruck will shine like new again as part of an exhibit in a special museum.

Board of works members approved a request last week from Fire Chief Brad Lucas to donate Engine 17 to the Vintage Fire Museum in Jeffersonville.

At 40 years old, the truck is no longer used by Seymour firefighters and recently was replaced with a new engine.

“It won’t pass a pump test anymore,” Lucas said of the 1975 American LaFrance. “The ladder is still good, but it’s not a climbing ladder; it’s an elevated stream ladder, so we couldn’t use it for rescues.”

Safety regulations require any ladder used for climbing to have 18-inch handrails, and the LaFrance does not meet those measurements, Lucas said.

The truck is currently at Station 3 behind The Home Depot but had been stored as a backup at Station 2 near Emerson Elementary School.

The last time it was used was during a 2009 blaze that destroyed two buildings downtown, Lucas said.

Lucas provided board members with a few options for disposal of the truck, including trying to sell it at auction, scrapping it or giving it to a volunteer department.

“We could sell it at auction and try to get a few hundred bucks out of it, but it’s not worth anything to collectors, and none of the volunteer departments around here want an old hand-me-down truck.”

He said he would rather see it on display in a museum with other firefighting memorabilia where it will be viewed and appreciated.

“I went down to tour the museum last Saturday, and it’s really cool,” Lucas said. “I’m glad to see it’s going to a good home.”

He would have liked to donate it to a local group working to establish a city museum in downtown Seymour, he said, but those efforts are not far enough along yet, and he didn’t think the truck would fit in the former police station building where the museum is being established.

Located in an old car dealership, the Vintage Fire Museum is the best way to maintain the truck’s historical and nostalgic value, Lucas said.

“It’s a really nice museum,” he said. “They really do a good job.”

The department also has an 1885 steamer firetruck at Station 3 that Lucas said he would like to see properly displayed.

“It’s really unique, and there are very few of those still around,” he said.

Although the Vintage Fire Museum has expressed interest in the steamer, board of works member Jim Rebber said he was not comfortable with allowing it to leave the city.

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.