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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Antique Fire Truck To Return Home to Village of Wausaukee

Issue Date: October 17, 2019

On Oct. 17 at the Annual Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association (MSFCA) the keys to a 1930 REO Speed Wagon fire truck will be handed back to its original owner, Village of Wausaukee.

MFSCA Board members led by Eagan, Minn. Fire Chief Mike Scott will hand over the keys to Fire Chief Eric Edlebeck of Wausaukee in a presentation to formally return the truck to its home. Lieutenant Brandon Wesolowski and firefighter Dennis Whitton, Jr. will accompany Edlebeck to Duluth.

Fire Chiefs from around the region will witness the truck being handed over to Wausaukee to return the truck back home. Earlier this year the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association (MSFCA) Board of Directors voted unanimously to declare surplus an antique fire truck owned by the association and put it up for auction via sealed bids.

The MSFCA owned this 1930 REO Speed Wagon Fire Truck since the early 1990's. The intent of the truck was to support the MSFCA through community outreach with the truck making public appearances throughout Minnesota. Overtime the truck has not been used as the MSFCA Board had hoped, so the Board moved to sell the truck.

Once the truck was officially advertised for sale via a sealed bid process that would end on Sept. 30th, 2019 Board members set out to find out where the truck originally had served in the fire service.

Eagan Fire Chief Mike Scott who is on the MSFCA Board stated "there is a strong sense of brotherhood and family within the fire service that extends across the Nation if not worldwide, we felt it was important to track down where this truck originally served in the fire service to at least reach out to that department and let them know the truck was up for auction."

Through research it was learned that this truck had originally served as the first motorized fire truck for the Village of Wausaukee.

Chief Scott had recently sold a used fire truck to the Village of Crivitz and called the Crivitz Fire Chief to see if he knew anyone from the Wausaukee Fire Department. To the surprise of Chief Scott when the Crivitz Chief stated Wausaukee was the neighboring Village to them, and the Fire Chief was his friend.

Chief Scott contacted the Wausaukee Fire District Fire Chief Eric Edlebeck to tell him about the fire truck being available for sealed bid auction.

Chief Edlebeck stated that "they had no idea what had happened to their original fire truck". It had proudly served their Village for many years and at some point, was sold to a meat packing company. Continuing Edlebeck said, "The truck was last seen in the early 1990's when a gentleman from Minnesota brought the truck to our 4th of July Parade and allowed some retired members to ride on the truck in the parade. The members at that time were so excited to see the truck that they donated some loose equipment to the owner of the truck with hopes this truck would return for future 4th of July Parades. This was the last time the truck had been seen by members of the department and the community".

The MSFCA received two sealed bids at the time of the bid closing on Sept. 30th and the high bid was the Wausaukee Fire District in the amount of $7,500.

The Annual MSFCA Conference is in Duluth Oct. 17-20. Chief Edlebeck and some volunteers will attend the vendor conference on Oct. 17. At approximately 1pm that day members of the MSFCA will officially "handover the keys" to the Wausaukee Fire District so that they can bring their truck home for good.


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