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Anderson Fire Department’s Historic Engines…

Wayne Peabody knew two things early in life: He wanted to be a firefighter and that he was mechanically inclined. So it was a natural fit that when he transferred to the Anderson Fire Department two years ago that he’d help get the department’s two historic engines up and running, finishing the restoration process.

“Anderson has two historic engines, one from 1941, which is Engine No. 1 and a 1946, Engine No. 2,” he says. The body work, interior and painting had been worked on in the 1980s, but neither ran. “They’re stone stock, completely original, but when I came to Anderson, they had to pull them out as neither would run,” he says. “I did the mechanical and brake work and now we get to take them out for parades and community events. It’s a Ford flathead (engine). If you have spark, fuel and air, you’re going to get it to run.”

Peabody, who spent 22 years in Willows as a firefighter and lives in Artois, says the guys in Anderson all played a part in getting the two Van Pelt engines ready to take out to events like the Redding Lighted Christmas Parade, Anderson High School’s homecoming parade and, of course, the biggest car show north of Sacramento, Kool April Nites.

Photo by Melinda Hunter.

“We had all the crews working on it for a little buy-in,” Peabody says. “It’s neat to teach some of the kids to work on it and great to see them driving something that’s probably 30 years older than they are.” The department has been invited to bring the engines to Oakdale for Van Pelt’s 100-year celebration
in June.

Peabody’s father was a mechanic, so he comes by his ability naturally. He recalls drag racing as a kid. “When I left for college, dad sold the car,” he says.

He also knew his career path, “I’ve been a volunteer (firefighter) since I was 16. I took EMT classes when I was 16 and have been fortunate to be a fireman all my adult life,” he says.

The aspect of the engine restoration Peabody says he most enjoys is the ability to engage the public “outside” of an emergency situation. “These engines are for parades and sharing with the community,” he says. “It’s about reaching out and these older engines open the door to speak to people on a different level. They ask questions and we get to communicate in a low-key situation on their terms and not during an emergency.” •

Article Written by:

Aaron Williams is the national editor at MaxPreps. The former sports editor at the Record Searchlight has been active in the North State sports community for more than 20 years as a writer and coach at the youth and high school level. He enjoys spending time golfing or hiking with his partner Michelle and their mastiff, Maui.

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