Village Refurbishing Old Engine No. 1
Sound the siren and flash the red light — one of Pinehurst’s first fire engines is back home.
Thirty-seven years after it was taken out of service, and nearly 30 years after it was taken from Moore County, Engine No. 1, the second motorized vehicle in Pinehurst, is now part of the village Fire Department’s fleet.
The engine had been in a warehouse in Landis since 1981 but was returned to Pinehurst after avid antique automobile collectors Jamie Boles and his son, Glenn, learned of its existence and convinced the owner to sell it back to the Pinehurst Fire Department.
“After you see it, you know you gotta have it,” said Jamie Boles, Moore County’s state representative. “It’s just a piece of history you can never replace.”
Boles collects antique ambulances and hearses. He is friends with Tony Corriher, the Landis man who had the engine among his extensive collection of antique vehicles.
Corriher invited the Boles and his son to see his collection. That is when the pair made a startling discovery. Buried under a pile of old fire equipment was a piece of Pinehurst history.
“After we took all the equipment off of it, I was fascinated,” Boles said of the discovery. “I saw ‘Pinehurst’ on it and I said, “Holy cow.’ “When I saw that I said, ‘This has got to go back to Pinehurst.’ And if they don’t want it, well, I’ll take it.’”
Representatives from the Pinehurst Fire department, including Chief Carlton Cole and Deputy Chief Floyd Fritz, went up to take a look and were immediately interested in acquiring the vehicle.
In March, Boles, a local funeral home owner, brokered a deal with his friend and fellow car collector that brought the fire truck back to Pinehurst.
Engine No. 1 was purchased by Pinehurst in 1937 from the Seagrave Co. in Columbus, Ohio. It served the community from October 1937 until May 1973.
A local farmer purchased the truck and used it to irrigate his farm. In 1981, through an arrangement with an antique dealer, the farmer sold the truck to Corriher, who kept the engine in storage as part of his collection.
“When you think of the history and tradition of Pinehurst,” Cole said, “it is nice to be able to have a piece of that history back.”
In the six months since getting the truck back, the Pinehurst Fire Department has cleaned it, repaired the brakes, repacked the wheel barrings, replaced all the fluids and taken care of other routine maintenance issues, Fritz said.
Word spread quickly of the fire department’s acquisition.
“Most people were tickled to death,” Fritz said. “They had their pictures taken with it, and we’ve taken them for a ride.”
The fire truck was in remarkably good condition, considering it had been sitting around in storage for 25 years. It is still roadworthy. It has a working siren and lights but does need some work to restore it to its factory showroom condition.
“Mechanically, it’s pretty sound,” Fritz said. “I wouldn’t be afraid to jump in it and go anywhere.”
It is estimated that it will cost about $25,000 to complete the necessary work. A majority of that money, $15,000, will go toward paint and minor body work.
An additional $3,000 will be needed for gold-leaf lettering and striping. Mechanical repairs and chrome ($2,000) and replacement and equipment such as ladders, nozzles and fire extinguishers ($5,000) will make up the remainder of the cost.
“The largest portion of the refurbishing costs will come from painting it,” Cole said. “As far as mechanical, it is in good shape.”
The village has started a capital campaign to help raise funds for the restoration of the fire engine. Donations are being accepted at varying sponsorship levels, with all money donated being used for the restoration and continued operationof the fire truck.
Cole said the old truck will be used as a teaching tool and will be used in area parades and other celebrations.
It will be on display during the Antique Automobile Show that will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Pinehurst Harness Track. The show is sponsored by the Sandhills Chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America and the village of Pinehurst Parks and Recreation.
Admission to the show is free, and there will be food vendors. Judging wil begin at noon with awards presented at 3 p.m. For information about the show, including how to enter a car, contact Larry Harter at (910) 295-3529.
Those interested in donating to the capital campaign to refurbish the fire truck can do so at the show or by contacting the Fire Department at (910) 295-5575 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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