Return Of The Native was a classic novel by Thomas Hardy (1878), but the title applies here. The HFD’s American LaFrance* pumper, built in 1921 in Elmira, NY, was in service at nearly every fire and emergency from 1922 until the late 1940s.
And now it’s back home in Huntington!
As the story goes, the pumper was even used as a prop by a movie production company and then disappeared. Eventually, it was acquired by a private collector in Hamburg, NY (Erie County), Tom Sarach, who in March 2014 contacted the HFD about the truck.
On October 15, thanks to the diligent efforts of Bruce Smith, George Bodnar, Skip Schwier and Nick Ambrosio, the pumper was donated back to the HFD and made its proud reappearance. Away from Huntington since the Truman administration, will the nonagenarian vehicle be seeing any duty?“No, it’s a living museum piece,” Bruce Smith commented, “and it has certainly seen a lot of history. Plans are for casual use. We will have it available for parades and special occasions as well as a memoir of Huntington’s past.”
* American LaFrance, since 1832 perhaps the most famous maker of hand drawn, horse drawn, steam powered and gasoline powered vehicles, closed in 2014.