JUST OUT OF PRISON
After a thorough dismantling, sanding and painting at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, the La Grande Volunteer Fire Department's 1922 Ford Model TT fire truck is ready to return to public life at
La Grande's regional fire museum.
The truck was sent to Walla Walla in September 2000 for restoration and repairs by inmates at the penitentiary. The cost of the repairs was $3,773. This price includes $5 an hour for labor, and the cost of materials.
The regional fire museum, situated in the former La Grande fire station, is scheduled to open on May 15.
The museum has recently been re-painted. Six other fire vehicles and two police cars will be featured at the museum, along with tools, pictures and written records.
Fire vehicles featured in the museum include a 1925 Mack, a 1925 Stutz that was La Grande's first fire engine, a 1925 Seagrave that was La Grande's second fire engine, a 1941 Pirsch from Baker city, a 1942 Ford from Lostine and a 1948 Mack. Work still needs to be done on displays for the museum.
The 1922 Ford fire truck was used at the Hot Lake Sanatorium. The truck has two tanks on the back which were filled with bicarbonate soda and water. Pressure was built in the tanks by pulling a lever that released sulfuric acid into the tanks. The ensuing chemical reaction was capable of creating up to 400 pounds of pressure within the tanks.
A hose was stored above the tank. The hose could also be attached to a hydrant by opening a middle valve.
Some items that were originally on the truck are missing such as two kerosene lanterns, covers for the soda-acid tanks, the spotlight and the bell.