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Published 12:00 am Monday, May 29, 2023

South Point’s first fire truck restored, returns after decades in barn

The engine for South Point’s 1928 fire truck was rebuilt by Ron’s Model A, located in Cincinnati, and then assembled by village workers. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

SOUTH POINT — For six decades, the village’s first fire truck sat in a barn in northern Ohio, but, this year, after a restoration, it is back in South Point and ready to show in Monday’s Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade.

Mayor Jeff Gaskin said the 1928 Model AA Ford truck was in service to the village from 1928-1959, at which point, it was purchased for $101 by David Brubaker, a former resident of the village.

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Brubaker had hopes of restoring it, but his efforts were interrupted by college, Gaskin said.

Following Brubaker’s death in the 1970s, the truck has sat in a barn owned by the family in Tipp City.

Mayor Jeff Gaskin and members of the South Point Volunteer Fire Department look over the 1928 Model AA Ford truck on Thursday, in preparation for its entry into Monday’s Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

“It was up on blocks,” Gaskin said.

Last year, the mayor said Brubaker’s family approached the village, offering them the truck.

“It was given with the stipulation that it be restored,” Gaskin said.

Upon its return to South Point, village workers began working part time and after hours to restore the vehicle, led by Mike Jones and Mike Kelley.

“Everything’s new,” Gaskin, who began working with the village fire department in 1969, said. “Every belt, every wire – everything was taken apart, cleaned, fixed, repainted and replaced with extra loving care.”

Village workers restored all of the brass on South Point’s 1928 fire truck. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

Gaskin said the truck’s engine was rebuilt by Ron’s Model A of Cincinnati.

“And then assembled by our crew and our mechanics,” he said, noting that they had several local “Model A aficionados” they consulted with on the project.

Workers restored the brass on the vehicles fixtures, while a special message of “For David,” in honor of Brubaker, was painted on the back.

A message on the back of South Point’s fire truck honors David Brubaker, a former village resident, who bought the truck in 1959. His family donated in to the village last year. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

Gaskin noted that everything on the vehicle is “period accurate,” such as the “SPFD” on it hood.

The truck, made by the Howe Engine Company of Indiana, will be used for special events like the parade.

“It is a show truck,” Gaskin said, noting that it will have its own garage.

Monday’s parade will be its first public outing and workers were at the South Point fire station on Thursday, preparing it.

“It’s been running for three weeks,” Gaskin said of the restoration, noting that they have been making sure all is in working order before putting it in the parade, which take about two hours to complete its route. “We’ve been driving it for two weeks and have put about 100 miles on it.”

Gaskin said the truck would be presented to Brubaker’s widow and family on Sunday.

Look for the truck, leading Division 3 of the parade, which steps off at 10 a.m. in downtown Ironton on Monday.