Funds Sought to Fix Up Athens’ Historic Fire Truck

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Athens firefighters are asking for the public’s help in preserving a bit of history and to help them to be better equipped to teach safety to children.

The Athens Fire Department is raising money to restore the departments 1938 pumper truck and to buy a new and more versatile fire safety trailer, according to Chief Robert Rymer. A GoFundMe account, where people can donate, has been set up with a goal of raising $75,000. Any leftover funds would be go toward the goal of the county’s fire departments of getting every home in Athens County equipped with smoke detectors, Rymer said.

The Athens department has a trailer, referred to as a smoke trailer, that was built by firefighters in 1997 from a cargo trailer. It is taken to schools to teach children about fire prevention and how to react in a fire. The hoped-for new trailer — which could be used for all age groups and would cost an estimated $42,000 — would be used for that purpose, but also to teach people how to react during severe storms, Rymer said. Also, he explained that the trailer could serve as a command center at large fires and at fests.

Rymer said a drawback of the current trailer is that it is not handicapped accessible.

A Seagrave 1938 pumper truck, the goal is to restore it for use in parades, fire safety promotion and firefighter funerals within the region. Rymer said the department isn’t looking to do a full-blown restoration of the truck, but to fix it up a bit and make it roadworthy.

The truck was originally purchased in May of 1938, and Rymer said it remained in service until about 1970.

Rymer said the Red Cross and area fire departments are working toward the goal of having every home in Athens Count equipped with smoke detectors, and the intent is to use some of the raised funds for help with that.

Those interested in donating to the Go Fund Me account, can go online to

As of Friday, there was $60 in the account, so there is quite a way to go if the goal is to be met.

“We’re checking into some grants and other funding also,” Rymer said.